First, I have written about GNER before; it is, generally, a very good train operator, plying an efficient, friendly and—provided that you book a small while in advance—remarkably well-priced service up and down the east coast line between London and Scotland.
Furthermore, this route is almost unique in that it is not subsidised by the government, i.e. us, at all: indeed, GNER are paying a considerable amount of money to the government to run the route. So it was inevitable, I suppose, that this should happen.
The UK government has asked train firm GNER to surrender its £1.3bn-franchise on the main London to Edinburgh route.
GNER has faced financial woes since the London bombings, as passenger numbers dipped, power prices rose and Network Rail's compensation payments declined.
As a result it would not have been able to meet the terms of the franchise, which involved paying hundreds of millions of pounds to the government.
Brilliant, absolutely brilliant! Have you noticed that the government is attempting to tax the shit out of car drivers in an attempt to get more people onto public transport? And have you noticed that public transport is actually rather pricey?
The government attempts to keep regulating prices for transport routes; it hands out subsidised travel and free bus passes for the needy, etc. Has it ever occurred to the fuckers that one way of keeping prices down would be not to charge companies milions of fucking quid to run a damn route?
Further, contrast the treatment of GNER with that of Virgin (who run the West Coast route).
Meanwhile, the West Coast mainline is operated by Virgin who have just benefitted from a massive hidden subsidy in the recent line upgrade.The top speed of the Pendolino was 110mph until the West Coast Main Line upgrade was completed.
The upgrade involved re-laying about 1,000 miles of track along the route in the last three years.
The first stage in the route improvement programme involved an upgrade of the section between London and Manchester, enabling trains to travel at up to 125mph.
The upgrade cost £7.9 billion. And, having spent that vast sum of money, the trains can now travel 15 miles per hour faster than they could before.
So, for every 1 mile per hour increase in speed, the taxpayer has shelled out £5.3 million quid. Anyone think that that is good value for money?
Quite apart from that massive hidden subsidy, Virgin's main subsidy has doubled over the life of its franchise.
So, Virgin Rail consumes massive amounts of money and gets to keep its franchise: GNER, which pays massive amounts of money to the government, loses its franchise. Does anyone see an inconsistancy here?
The government has invited new bidders for the route franchise.
Go on, Virgin: have a bite at the cherry! There's nothing like a good monopoly for increasing profits!
It is not yet clear whether GNER and its parent company, Sea Containers, will bid for the contract, though a spokesman for GNER suggested it was likely.
Sea Containers recently sought protection from its creditors under US bankruptcy law.
Whoops! But GNER is still solvent (just about). The government could renegotiate the contract so that, amongst other things, all of that rolling stock will not have to be repainted at vast cost (which will, inevitably, be passed onto us through higher prices and through our taxes in the form of subsidies).
"The government made it clear that rail operators that fall into financial difficulty should expect to surrender the franchise and not receive financial support," said Transport Secretary Douglas Alexander.
"To do otherwise could set the precedent that we are willing to bail out operators at extra cost to the taxpayer."
I'm sorry, Douglas, you fucking knobhead; does that apply to car manufacturers in marginal constituencies to, you hypocritical cunt. Does that also apply to Virgin Rail?
God, these people are such useless bastards, they really are.