West Midlands Trains Class 172 DMU at Birmingham Moor Street

UK: Dutch national train operator NS announced on March 1 that its international operating arm Abellio had formally completed the divestiture of its UK subsidiary through a management buy-out.

With the regulatory approval process now completed, Abellio UK’s operations will transfer in their entirety to the MBO vehicle, Transport UK Group Ltd. The transfer includes the East Midlands Railway, West Midlands Trains and Greater Anglia train operating companies, as well as 60 London bus routes. TUG will also operate Merseyrail in partnership with Serco.

Abellio said that in the short term, its brand will continue to be used by some parts of the business, including Abellio London Bus.

Stadler Flirt EMU for Greater Anglia’s Stansted Express service between London Liverpool Street and Stansted Airport (Photo: Greater Anglia/Nick Strugnell).

The Greater Anglia operation was a 60:40 joint venture of Abellio and Mitsui.

NS changed its international strategy in 2018 to require foreign activities to contribute to the interests of Dutch travellers, and with Abellio UK no longer of strategic importance it decided to withdraw from the UK to focus on services within, to and from the Netherlands.

The MBO has been led by Abellio UK Managing Director Dominic Booth. Commenting on the conclusion of the deal on March 1, Booth said ‘we are thrilled to return key public transport services back into UK ownership. While our name will change to Transport UK Group, our values remain the same. We will continue to play a key role in the country’s transport sector, ensuring the provision of our award-winning services to passengers around the UK and driving innovation to develop a low-emission UK transport network.’