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How many foreign countries run Britain’s railways?

Spain is joining a list that already includes Germany, France and Canada.

When rail services in Wales are taken over by Keolis/Amey, the number of foreign countries with a stake in running Britain’s railway network will rise from seven to eight.

Spain will join a list that includes fellow European nations Germany, France, Italy and the Netherlands, plus Hong Kong, Canada and Japan.

Amey is a subsidiary of Spanish company Ferrovial.

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Passenger rail journeys in Britain on services owned by different countries (PA Graphics)

Keolis is owned jointly by French state rail operator SNCF and a Canadian investment fund, and already has stakes in the Govia Thameslink and Southeastern franchises.

Once Keolis/Amey begins running services in Wales – due to happen in October 2018 – some 57% of all passenger journeys on Britain’s rail network will be on services owned by foreign-based companies or governments.

Germany will account for the biggest proportion (21%). State-owned Deutsche Bahn is the parent company of Arriva UK Trains, which runs the Chiltern, Crosscountry, Northern, Grand Central and London Overground services.

The Netherlands has the next biggest share (15%), thanks to state-owned Nederlandse Spoorwegen (through its subsidiary Abellio) running the Greater Anglia and ScotRail franchises plus stakes in Merseyrail and West Midlands Trains.

By contrast, Spain’s share of passenger journeys will work out at around 1% of the total.

UK-based companies will account for 42% of all journeys in Britain.

A further 1% will be the responsibility of the UK Government, following the renationalisation (in June) of the East Coast Main Line.

Here is how the proportions will break down by country, based on the latest available figures for passenger journeys:
Germany 21%
Netherlands 15%
France 8%
Hong Kong 5%
Canada 3%
Italy 3%
Japan 1%
Spain 1%
plus:
UK-based companies 42%
UK Government 1%

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