Abellio Made £3.5m Loss In First Full Year Operating Scotrail Franchise

25 September 2017, 14:19

ScotRail train

Abellio ScotRail made a loss of £3.5 million after tax in its first full year of operating train services in Scotland, new accounts show.

Abellio, an arm of the state-owned Dutch railway operator Nederlandse Spoorwegen (NS), took over the ScotRail franchise in April 2015 and made profits of £9.5 million in the first nine months.

However the latest accounts show in 2016 the business was loaned £10 million from Abellio Transport Holding, another branch of NS.

The 2015 figures had sparked accusations of Abellio "profiteering" from the franchise, but the accounts show no dividend was paid to its Netherlands-based parent company in either year.

Abellio ScotRail said its turnover of £610.1 million for the year was affected by tough trading conditions and the impact of the partial closure of Glasgow Queen Street station for 20 weeks.

The company faced heavy criticism after the reliability and punctuality of trains fell below the standard required of the franchise but said performance had now improved year on year for six periods in a row.

It highlighted investment of £475 million in the railways, the introduction of a new fleet of Hitachi built electric class 385 trains and the "extensive" refurbishment of high speed trains to serve Scotland's cities from 2018.

A spokesman for Abellio ScotRail said: "We're investing nearly half a billion pounds building the best railway Scotland has ever had, as part of our delivery of a highly specified Scottish Government contract.

"In doing so, we will deliver more seats and faster journey times for passengers, significantly improving customer service standards.

"We are making good progress with the recent independent National Rail Passenger Survey revealing that nine out of ten customers are satisfied with ScotRail - equalling our best ever score.

"ScotRail is also the best performing large operator in the UK.

"However, it is not surprising that the challenges of last year have had a negative impact on our financial performance and we are disappointed to be recording a loss.

"As with previous years, and despite reports to the contrary, there will be no dividend paid to our parent company in the Netherlands."