Posted 22nd April 2010 | 9 Comments

Deutsche Bahn confirms Arriva takeover

CrossCountry is one of two rail franchises which will pass into German hands

CrossCountry is one of two rail franchises which will pass into German hands

ARRIVA is to be taken over by the German state-owned rail company, Deutsche Bahn, for almost £1.6 billion. Arriva operates CrossCountry and Arriva Trains Wales, plus numerous British bus companies, but also has transport interests elsewhere in Europe. The buyout will create a new super-transport operator carrying 10 million passengers a day, which will be key to German plans to expand abroad.

The announcement had been expected following a meeting of the DB Supervisory Board yesterday, and follows unsuccessful negotiations between Arriva and the French state rail operator SNCF last month.

DB already has a British presence, because it owns the country's largest rail freight operator, formerly EWS, as well as the Chiltern passenger franchise and a stake in the open access operator Wrexham & Shropshire.

Arriva began as a vehicle leasing company, Cowie, but was renamed in the late 1990s. The company had expanded massively following the deregulation and privatisation of bus services in Britain in the mid-1980s, and then entered the rail market almost by accident in February 2000, when it acquired MTL Holdings, the operator of Merseyrail Electrics and Northern Spirit.

Although Arriva has since relinquished these operations, it went on to compete successfully for the new national Welsh franchise (Arriva Trains Wales) in 2003 and then CrossCountry in 2007, which had been operated until then by Virgin.

Reader Comments:

Views expressed in submitted comments are that of the author, and not necessarily shared by Railnews.

  • Bob, Truro, United Kingdom

    I'll be delighted to see the back of Arriva. Cross Country Trains is by far the worst of the rail companies in terms of passenger comfort and fare levels. I live in Cornwall, and we have no refreshments available until Plymouth - a 2-hour journey from Penzance. Their removal of the Virgin shop now means you have only a trolley service - and that's useless as the trains (4-5 coach Voyagers) are invariably standing room only, so the trolleys can't get through! The toilets are a disgrace - the Penzance-Dundee service (4 carriages!) is not emptied at Dundee as CCT won't pay the servicing charges (that nugget comes from CCT's own staff) and so invariably on the journey back south the toilets become over-full and trains make toilet stops from about Bristol westwards. Cheap fares are rarely available; I can travel to London (4 hours) on First Great Western for less than £20. In 2 weeks I'm travelling to Sheffield from Cornwall and it's £79 - both fares on a railcard. Good riddance Arriva and welcome DB.

  • andy g, cheam, england

    I wouldnt hold your breath CB just look at the mess they have made at EWS
    losing freight flow after another.
    When will people in this country realise that trains are run for the TOCs benefit
    not ours.i live in the FCC area,the worst run in the country.
    The government doesnt help moving the goal posts on a weekly basis,just look at the hacking job they made of the Cross Country franchise

  • Colin, Edinburgh

    Yeah marvellous.DB took over the company i worked for,EWS.Then within 2 years i was made redundant after they ripped the company to bits.Then i got a job for Arriva and within 6 months DB are taking over.Yes a lot to look forward to.

  • Rob, Leeds, England

    I hope this means good news for Arriva's trains. Might we see a company actually interested in passengers running our trains? Capacity to match demand? The opportunity to have a good meal, or at least warm food on a long, Crosscountry journey?

    Good luck DB - please transform our railways!

  • Patrick Lee Hines, Chatham, England

    This is absolute prove of the Germans losing the battle but winning the war, A very sad day for England, just when rail and bus companys should have been re-nationalised by our own goverment. De-regulisation & De-nationalisation of british industry including our service industry will leave us as paupers, One thing for sure is that Germany has got it right, while thatcher and blair were selling and destroying what was left of our country, the Germans were building their own country into strength. With poor Gorden Brown left to take the can for right wing political genocide.

  • Mike Breslin, Liverpool, UK

    Following the DB takeover of Arriva, it looks as if British companies may soon be completely forced out of the European public transport scene through further takeovers by the big state-owned rail networks. In this regard, it is reported that SNCF may now be considering a bid for Go Ahead and of course, NedRail are already involved in two British franchises. I therefore wonder what our politicians would say if they realised that our rail network may soon become nationalised - by European governments! Nevertheless, I believe that real railway people, in the shape of DB personnel, would undoubtedly make a better job of running Cross Country services than the busmen at Arriva. .

  • Craig Ward, BLACKBURN, UK

    How wonderfully ironic that a state-owned(nationalised) foreign company is buying a private rail company in the UK. Is this a new form of nationalisation by the back door as they already own the former EWS? Perhaps the whole of the UK rail industry will be owned by DB eventually - may be the whole European network too!

  • John Kelvin, Oxford

    All we need now is for DB to get permission to travel through the channel tunnel, and then I will be able to buy one seemless ticket from my local Arriva bus route, on to Cross Country/Chiltern trains, and then off to explore all around Germany.

  • Colin Bryan, Newport, UK

    At last Railway people running a railway lets hope DB put in railway management