WEAKNESSES IN investment plans developed by train operators forced the Strategic Rail Authority (SRA) to reclaim control of spending on new infrastructure, the Association of Train Operators (ATOC) said this week.
'Some of the financial cases haven't been that good, ' said an ATOC spokesman at the Labour conference in Blackpool.
The admission follows the decision by the SRA to strip train operators of responsibility for timetabling, choosing rolling stock and infrastructure upgrades, leaving them to concentrate on running services (NCE 12 September).
The ATOC spokesman said that when the train operators took on railway franchises they failed to appreciate the costs involved in operating rail services.
'Some train operators were more experienced in running bus companies than trains, ' he said.
They didn't realise that it can cost four times as much to train and supply a train driver as a bus driver.'
As a result several operators had run into financial difficulties, hampering their ability to finance major infrastructure developments.