Enfield rail service no longer going Dutch

Greater Anglia one of four UK rail franchises being sold by its Dutch owners

A Greater Anglia train (credit Greater Anglia)
A Greater Anglia train (credit Greater Anglia)

A rail franchise serving four stations in Enfield is being sold by its Dutch owner to a new British-based transport company.

Greater Anglia, which runs services at Enfield Lock, Brimsdown, Ponders End and Meridian Water stations in the east of the borough, is part of Abellio UK, currently owned by the Dutch state-owned rail company, Nederlandse Spoorwegen.

But a management buyout of Abellio means that a new UK-run transport company will operate Greater Anglia by the end of this year, alongside three other British rail franchises and 50 bus routes in central, south and west London.

The new company will be called Transport UK Group Limited. A statement from Abellio confirmed it would be led by managing director Dominic Booth, who has decades of experience running public transport services in the UK, and described the takeover as being “widely welcomed by industry partners and experts”.

Completion of the buyout deal is still subject to formal approval from the Department for Transport, Transport for London and Merseytravel as well as regulatory consent from the Office for Rail and Road.

Nederlandse Spoorwegen has had a stake in the UK transport market for 20 years but will now focus on domestic service provision within the Netherlands.

Dominic said: “I’ve been a railwayman all my life. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to return key public transport services back into UK ownership at a time when some of our competitors look destined for overseas ownership.

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“We expect the business to transfer by the end of the year, following which we will focus all our energies and expertise on continuing to deliver the best-possible services for our passengers, investing in our train and bus routes, and helping to develop a future-ready, low-emission UK transport network.

“Our wish to buy the company from Nederlandse Spoorwegen demonstrates our confidence in the existing Abellio UK team, both in our head office and on the ground. It’s the dedication of our 15,000 employees, together with a continuity of management, that will ensure our new company is a great success.

“We are grateful for the support and backing that we have received from Nederlandse Spoorwegen to date, and we look forward to continuing to work closely with them to manage this process to a successful conclusion.”

Bert Groenewegen, acting chief executive of Nederlandse Spoorwegen, will continue to support the new company during a transition period. He said: “After a successful 20 years in the UK passenger transport market, NS is proud to support this natural next step for Abellio UK as it transitions with our blessing into a new management owned passenger transport group.”

Dominic added that Transport UK Group Limited would look to acquire other rail franchises in addition to the four Abellio currently operates. He said: “This deal will put us in a strong position to continue the smooth operating of our current routes as well as giving us the capability to grow the business and bid for new franchises in the future.”

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