Like 2018 also 2019 has been a year of growth for Abellio UK, with the launch of East Midlands Railway on 18th August and continued growth in the existing businesses. It has also been a period of transformation with continued investment in new trains of £3.1bn across all franchises delivering more seats and services for customers as well as a modern train fleet.
In December 2019, the Scottish Government decided, to exercise the break clause within the franchise agreement to end the ScotRail franchise in March 2022. Abellio had submitted a proposal based on certain conditions for extension to 2025 which the Scottish Government has chosen not to accept. The shorter life of the ScotRail franchise brings us a new challenge but we trust that in consultation with Transport Scotland we will be able to continue to deliver good operational performance to our passengers over the remaining life of the franchise whilst preserving the long term perspective for ScotRail and Transport Scotland in the interest of the passenger.
Abellio’s five TOCs (Train Operating Companies) have several years left under contract. The ScotRail franchise expiry in 2022 is the earliest with the next franchise expiry in 2025 when Great Anglia reaches its full term, assuming no extension period is agreed.
With the win of East Midlands Railway Abellio became the fourth largest UK rail owning group with 18.7% market share by rail passenger journeys.
Abellio UK consolidated (in € million)
Revenue (excl. Merseyrail)
EBIT before CLE and IFRS 16 effect
CLE impact Greater Anglia*
EBIT before IFRS 16 effect
IFRS 16 effect
Intercompany financial result **
Other financial results
Profit before tax
Net profit attributable to NS
Net profit before IFRS 16 impact attributable to NS
Capital investments (excl. Merseyrail)
Equity attributable to NS
PCS guarantees provided by NS
Other guarantees provided by NS
Total Capital at Risk, Abellio UK
PCS guarantees called on (NS portion)
Other guarantees called on (NS portion)
- * In 2019 the net CLE expense, includes a benefit related to prior year reassessment of € 6m. In 2018, the net CLE expense included € 19m of charges related to prior years.
- ** Intercompany financial result consists of interest on shareholder loans and guarantee fees.
Solid operational performance is a fundamental priority for Abellio, supported by a close cooperation with Network Rail across each of our TOCs. Performance in the UK is measured using the Public Performance Measure (PPM), representing the percentage of trains that have arrived at their final destination within 5 minutes of their scheduled time – having stopped at all scheduled stations. The table below shows the PPM for 2019 and 2018 and also the number of daily train services operated by each UK rail operator.
As highlighted below, Merseyrail continues to be the best performing TOC in the UK, consistently achieving periodic PPM in excess of 95%. West Midlands Trains performance has been hit by a series of complex timetable changes in May 2019, reduced platform capacity at Euston station to accommodate HS2 construction works and industrial action over many weeks in 2019. After an initial decrease in punctuality following the timetable change in December 2018, ScotRail performance has continued to strongly improve through 2019 after changes in the May timetable and other measures and delivered the best autumn performance since the start of the franchise with a punctuality of 88.5% whilst also delivering a 23% increase in seat capacity with the introduction of new trains.
Trains per day
Transport for Wales
East Midlands Railway
Average for all TOCs
West Midlands Trains
Avanti West Coast (formerly Virgin West Coast)
This table shows the performance of the UK’s franchised train operating companies (MAA = Moving Annual Average) for period 10 of the railway calendar for 2019 and 2018. 13 of these operations are franchised by DfT. ScotRail and Caledonian Sleeper are franchised by Transport Scotland and Transport for Wales Rail Ltd is franchised by Transport for Wales. Merseyrail, LOROL and TFL Rail are public sector operated concessions. LNER is operated directly by DfT.
The change in PPM was influenced by a range of factors, although the majority of delays are due to delay minutes attributed to infrastructure issues.
The table below shows the cause of delays to Abellio TOCs in 2019 as attributed to the following categories:
NR on TOC: delays attributed to Network Rail (infrastructure) on train operating companies, including extreme weather conditions.
TOC on Self: delays attributed to a train operating company caused by themselves.
TOC on TOC: delays attributed to a train operating company caused by other train operating companies.
NR on TOC
TOC on self
TOC on TOC
Customer satisfaction with rail services is captured in the UK through the National Rail Passenger Survey (NRPS) conducted by Transport Focus. Over 50,000 rail users are surveyed each year across two survey periods in Spring and Autumn. The Abellio TOCs, with the exception of West Midlands, achieved an improvement in passenger satisfaction scores in the independent National Rail Passenger Survey (NRPS) for autumn 2019.
ScotRail is now considered the best large train operator in the UK with a passenger satisfaction of 89 per cent, a 10-point increase on the same period last year, and its highest rating among passengers since 2017. MerseyRail is rated the best franchise in the UK with a 91 per cent satisfaction score and passenger satisfaction with Greater Anglia rose to 81 per cent.
West Midlands Trains suffered a drop in satisfaction levels to 73 cent due to severe disruption since the timetable change in May 2019 which the operator is now recovering from after a remedial programme was put in place. East Midlands Railway saw a slight drop in satisfaction which is largely due to disruption caused by limited infrastructure availability for example due to local flooding after heavy rainfall.
The full 2018 and 2019 overall satisfaction results for Abellio TOCs were as follows:
Average for all British TOCs
Abellio UK as an employer
Abellio UK is a major employer, employing more than 17,000 employees including Merseyrail (2018: almost 15,000). Abellio is proud of its staff, who are passionate about helping to provide seamless journeys for our passengers. In December 2019 Abellio launched Abellio for All to staff to promote Diversity and Inclusion as a core element of our HR policies.
Abellio UK is an employer operating an Equal Opportunities Policy which aims to eliminate unfair discrimination, harassment, victimisation and bullying. Abellio is committed to ensuring that all individuals are treated fairly, with respect and are valued irrespective of disability, race, gender, health, social class, sexual preference, marital status, nationality, religion, employment status, age or membership or non-membership of a trade union.
Abellio UK’s policy is to continue to employ those who become disabled in service. Training is adjusted to cater for an individual disability and the disabled share the same conditions of service as other staff in relation to career development and promotion.
Abellio UK uses consultative procedures agreed with its staff and elected representatives with a view to ensuring that employees are aware of the financial and economic factors which affect our performance and prospects. In addition we issue a periodic communications to employees informing them of developments within the business.
Abellio UK participates in an annual employee survey to monitor employee satisfaction. Results are followed through using employee focus groups to understand the key issues raised in the survey. Employees make recommendations at these forums which are then developed into action plans.