Rail firm gets Government help after losses

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SHEFFIELD to London rail operator East Midlands Trains has received financial help from the Government after losing £1 million a week over six months.

The company, owned by Stagecoach, blamed ‘lower passenger revenues than originally projected when the franchise was let in November 2007’ against having to meet agreed payments to the Government.

The amount of aid has not been revealed but some reports put the figure at £90m .

A Stagecoach Group spokesman said: “As part of our contract, East Midlands Trains qualified for support payments from the Government from November 2011 and this will mean that the company will return to profit in the second half of the year. The loss is an accounting issue and does not impact on services.

“More passengers are continuing to use our services, with numbers up 2.3 per cent on the same period last year.

“East Midlands Trains has been the most punctual long distance rail operator in the UK and customer satisfaction is above average.

“Passengers are benefiting from a £40m investment programme. Collectively, Stagecoach’s rail franchises – South West Trains, East Midlands Trains and Virgin Trains - are net financial contributors to the public purse. In the 18 months from May 2010-October 31, 2011, even after taking account of payments we received from the Government, our franchises made a net contribution of more than £540m to UK taxpayers.”

A Department for Transport spokesman said: “If revenue earned is less that forecast, additional subsidy is provided.”