Deutsche Bahn to buy Arriva

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Transport firm Arriva is to be taken over by the public-owned German railway operator Deutsche Bahn for £1.6bn.

Arriva, the UK’s third largest transport firm, have been the subject of buyout ever since rumours since French firm SNCF made an approach for them last year, and Deutsche Bahn finally confirmed this morning that their own bid for Arriva had been successful.

Arriva are most widely known for their railway activities – they run a significant portion of Wales’ rail services and hold the (over-optimistically forecast) Cross Country Franchise which they’ve admitted has been losing money for some time. In rail terms, Londoners will likely have unknowingly encountered Deutsche Bahn through the London Overground – they form one half of the LOROL joint venture (alongside MTR from Hong Kong). Deutsche Bahn also currently hold the Chiltern Franchise directly.

Deutsche Bahn have also recently been vocal about their desire to run services through the Channel Tunnel during the Olympics – something that led to this wonderfully Babelfishian quote from thisismoney (thanks Fact Compiler):

Eurotunnel chief Jacques Gounon said: ‘Deutsche Bahn has a real willingness. We can trust a house that powerful.

It is likely on the bus network in London that this takeover will have the greatest impact, however, as Arriva currently control a significant portion of the bus market in the Capital. Arriva run services both north and south of the river and are one of the “bendy-bus” companies (they currently hold the 29, the 38, the 149 and 73 routes). All in all, they currently manage over 1/5 of London’s bus routes and at one point were the largest bus contractor in the city (although that title has now been lost to Go-Ahead).

In real terms, of course, it seems unlikely that the takeover will have much of an impact on day-to-day services. It does, however, mean that theoretically speaking a significant part of London’s bus network is now once again state-owned…

…just not by the British state.

Written by John Bull
John Bull is the Editor of London Reconnections. A transport journalist and historian, his writing often focuses on the political or strategic challenges facing London's transport network and beyond.