Deutsche Bahn confirms Arriva takeover

CrossCountry is one of two rail franchises which will pass into German hands

ARRIVA is to be taken over by the German state-owned rail company, Deutsche Bahn, for almost £1.6 billion. Arriva operates CrossCountry and Arriva Trains Wales, plus numerous British bus companies, but also has transport interests elsewhere in Europe. The buyout will create a new super-transport operator carrying 10 million passengers a day, which will be key to German plans to expand abroad.

The announcement had been expected following a meeting of the DB Supervisory Board yesterday, and follows unsuccessful negotiations between Arriva and the French state rail operator SNCF last month.

DB already has a British presence, because it owns the country's largest rail freight operator, formerly EWS, as well as the Chiltern passenger franchise and a stake in the open access operator Wrexham & Shropshire.

Arriva began as a vehicle leasing company, Cowie, but was renamed in the late 1990s. The company had expanded massively following the deregulation and privatisation of bus services in Britain in the mid-1980s, and then entered the rail market almost by accident in February 2000, when it acquired MTL Holdings, the operator of Merseyrail Electrics and Northern Spirit.

Although Arriva has since relinquished these operations, it went on to compete successfully for the new national Welsh franchise (Arriva Trains Wales) in 2003 and then CrossCountry in 2007, which had been operated until then by Virgin.

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