Europe still keen on UK rail franchises (Bloomberg)

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The UK may be clattering toward an exit from the European Union, but its railways are headed full pelt in the opposite direction.

As Brexit talks continue, the national rail companies of France, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands are snapping up contracts spanning London commuter routes to long-distance expresses as private British firms struggle to compete with the lower cost of capital available to their state-owned rivals.

Two decades after the world’s oldest railroad was privatized, 14 of 19 major UK franchises are at least partly controlled by government-owned operators from mainland Europe. Even as the split from the EU looms, Rome-based Trenitalia SpA is planning the biggest raid yet with a bid to run the 55 billion-pound ($71 billion) High Speed 2 line between London and northern England.

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Written by Long Branch Mike