Bentonville, Arkansas (PressExposure) February 14, 2013 -- The multinational public transport company was awarded two contracts to ply two German routes in North Rhine-Westphalia, mainly the cities of Cologne and Bonn.
National Express will service the Rheine-Munster-Cologne-Krefeld and Bonn-Cologne-Wuppertal routes.
Operating the c2c route London-Southend, the UK transport's privatised system is often criticised, probably because of overcrowding and complicated fare structures. The contracts amounting to 1.6bn (£1.4bn), however, showed signs of recovery for the UK operator. Although the UK's franchising system is merely half of the German rail market, it is the first UK player to bid for a competitive entry to a market that was a former domain of the railway giant.
The British firm also has a bigger chance of winning three other German franchises and has already filed an application for a licence to operate coach services as well. At present, it has transport services in Spain, Morocco, and South America.
The development is significant for the British company after it was stripped of its franchise to run the British East Coast Mainline in 2009.
Mainland European markets were mostly dominated by state-owned companies like the Deutsche Bahn (DB). DB, on the other hand, has no problem entering the UK market and has acquired Arriva, making it one of its corporate divisions.
National Express chief executive, Dean Finch is happy on the way things turned out. He said, "I'm particularly pleased that our success in running the UK's best performing franchise has been recognised by the German authorities. We look forward to maintaining these high standards and serving the people of North Rhine-Westphalia for many years to come."
It was only last week though when the UK transport company criticised the government for its refusal to provide reimbursement. National Express and three other train firms have spent Â£40m for the bid to franchise the Great Western services between London, Bristol, and Cardiff. However, the bidding competition was cancelled.
According to the report of Just Economics, commissioned by the National Union of Rail, Maritime, and Transport (RMT), the British network is behind other countries like Germany, France, Spain, and Italy.
Early last year, a report also named the British railways as the worst in Europe when it comes to efficiency, speed, and affordability.
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