The German state railway operator DB Regio is poised to take over Spanish-sounding but resolutely British company Arriva, adding the latter’s bus and train operations to a portfolio which includes Chiltern Railways, the Tyne & Wear Metro and stakes in WSMR and London Overground.
DB have been quietly building a small empire in the UK public transport world, and they’re not the only one. Abellio, part of Dutch state rail operator Nederlandse Spoorwegen, own a 50% stake of Merseyrail and Northern Rail. Meanwhile, French operator SNCF, via its Keolis subsidiary, is a partner in the Transpennine Express franchise. Keolis also hold a minority stake in Govia who operate three rail franchises.
Turns out Britain’s railways are being nationalised — it’s just different nations who are in charge.