Author: NewsBot

Police appeal for witnesses as man remains in hospital after Teignmouth mass brawl

Police are appealing for witnesses after a man in his 30s was left in hospital with serious head injures following a brawl in Teignmouth over the weekend.

Several police units were called as things kicked off around Fore Street and Somerset Place just after 2am on Saturday. The ambulance service also attended.

One man suffered serious head injuries and was taken by ambulance to Derriford Hospital in Plymouth, where he remains.


A police spokesman said today that no arrests had yet been made in connection with the assault.

He continued: “There was an altercation between a number of people in the Somerset Place area of Teignmouth.

“A man in his 30s has a serious head injury and he remains in Derriford Hospital. Police enquiries continue, including reviewing CCTV and speaking to people.

“Anyone with information is asked to speak to police.”


A Force Incident Manager said shortly after the incident: “The initial report was that a number of people were fighting but whether one or more persons were responsible we don’t know at the moment.

“It ended up that someone has suffered quite serious head injuries as a result.”


Greater Anglia launches ‘Norwich in 90’ service

The first ‘Norwich in 90’ trains ran today (May 20).

Greater Anglia introduced two faster trains in each direction between Norwich and London, leaving the Norfolk city at 0900 and 1700, returning at 1100 and 1900. The trains only call at Ipswich, which is reached in 55-57 minutes from the capital. They are followed by retimed trains that serve other stations en route. It cuts 12 minutes off Norwich-London journeys and four minutes from the Ipswich journey time.

GA Managing Director Jamie Burles said: “Today’s launch of our new faster services between Norwich, Ipswich and London, is another big step in the transformation of our railway in East Anglia.

“Today we travelled on our existing trains, but this service will run on our brand new Intercity trains as we replace all of our existing trains with brand new state-of-the-art modern trains.”

The faster services were first discussed in 2009, and then came to the political fore in 2014 when then-Chancellor George Osborne asked local MP Chloe Smith to chair a newly-created Great Eastern Main Line Taskforce.

Before the first train, Chris Starkie, chief executive of the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership and key member of the Great Eastern Mainline Taskforce, said: “This is a great milestone following a long period of negotiations and campaigning. It’s a huge step forward in improving customer experience and cutting journey times.

“Norfolk and Suffolk is one of the fastest growing regions in the country and it needs high quality rail infrastructure to support growth and to help businesses compete in global markets. The LEP strongly believes investing and transforming our railways is essential today and also decades to come ensuring we remain competitive and attractive as a business location.”

MP Priti Patel, (Conservative, Witham), said: “Having established the Great Eastern Main Line Taskforce in 2013 and worked closely with rail user groups, local businesses and MPs, I am delighted to see these new services getting underway today.

“The new ‘Norwich in 90’ and ‘Ipswich in 60’ services are another major achievement for the Taskforce and featured in our original rail investment prospectus to the Government for the Greater Anglia franchise.

“These new services build on the Taskforce’s other recent successes including the launch of Delay Repay 15, passenger refunds for late running services over 15 minutes, and the securing of more than £1 billion funding for new Greater Anglia trains due to come into service within a matter of weeks.”

Meliha Duymaz, Network Rail Anglia’s route managing director, said: “Delivering these faster services for passengers into the new timetable has been a real joint effort, and along with Greater Anglia, we know that ‘Norwich in 90’ will provide better journeys for the people who live and work in the region as well as supporting the local economy.

“Recent performance on the route has been some of the best in years, and together we’re working on various initiatives to make journeys better for everyone.”

  • For the FULL story, read RAIL 880, published on June 5, and available digitally on Android, iPad and Kindle from June 1.

Traffic at standstill on A38 and A380 after crash – latest updates

Traffic is at a standstill on the A380 and A38 after a crash at Splatford Split/Kennford.

Roads and traffic monitoring service Inrix first reported the two vehicle collision at 14:37. It reports that the southbound carrriageway, heading from the A38 towards Torbay,   is blocked and traffic is at a standstill. 

Highway’s England’s traffic cameras show traffic is queueing back on to the A38. 

Inrix’s alert reads: “A380 Southbound blocked, stationary traffic due to accident, two vehicles involved between A38 (Splatford Split, Kennford) and B3192 (Ashcombe / Teignmouth turn off, Ashcombe). Cameras show stationary traffic building up at Splatford Split.”


Scroll down for updates, Visit our Live News and Traffic Blog for more information about the roads in Devon and Cornwall.


Great Father’s Day gift ideas

We have said thank you to mum, now it is time to thank our dads, or the father figure that has giving so much.

From riding a bike, to scoring a goal, to building your first piece of flat pack furniture – chances are, it was your dad that showed you how it was done

As Father’s Day approaches – this year it is on June 16 – perhaps you are starting to think about how you show him how much he means to you, but are stuck for ideas.

Dad’s can be tricky to buy for, but not to worry – here we bring you a round up of some of the more interesting gifts you could buy for him.


Drive a fast car

Buckle up for the ultimate driving experience with the double supercar blast – where your dad can pick from the world’s top supercars like sleek Ferraris, stunning Lamborghinis, luxurious Aston Martins, sporty Porsches and more.

They’ll get to drive a total of up to six miles in two chosen cars at Honiton and they will be in the hands of experienced driving-day experts helping them have a truly unforgettable day.

The session costs £69 and more details can be found here


Race a dumper truck

Who hasn’t wanted to get behind the controls of a dumper truck and feel the power beneath your seat and the rumble of the engine? This JCB dumper truck race experience gives your dad that chance and puts your skills to the test.

It’s not just best lap times you’ll be trying to beat, as there’ll be fierce competition to prove themselves worthy of the grand final as they race around Diggerland’s special course at Cullumpton.

The experience costs £48 and can be booked here


Get up close to a wolf

An experience like no other – getting up close and personal with the resident timber wolf pack at Dartmoor Zoo.

They will learn about some of the most famous calls in the animal kingdom with this wolf encounter and howl experience – they may even get to hear one of them howling.

You can meet a wolf for £50 and details can be found here

Jump out of a plane

Tandem skydiving is one of the most exciting adrenaline experiences and you can book a jump from 10,500 feet and enjoy the sensation of free fall with some of the most incredible views.

They will have an experienced skydiving instructor attached to their back who will handle all the parachuting technicalities so they can enjoy the whole experience, which will last around eight minutes.

After a briefing they will hit the practise mats before putting on the safety gear and heading skyward.

The skydive will cost £249 and details can be found here


Go up

Welcome the day with a romantic flight sunrise hot-air balloon in Exeter – 2,000 feet in the air, complete with a glass of champagne.

After drifting into the clouds and spending an hour in the air, you will return to the ground and get to help the crew pack the balloon away.

The trip costs £255 available here

Enjoy afternoon tea and champagne

What could be nicer than tea for two at a luxurious hotel? At the grand Highbullen Hotel in Devon’s beautiful countryside, you will be treated to something far more than a cream tea – it will be a sumptuous feast.

You will be greeted with champagne, freshly-baked scones, paired with Devonshire clotted cream and strawberry jam, fresh finger sandwiches and a selection of homemade cakes.

The tea costs £53 and can be booked here

Become a master distiller

Based within The Shops at Dartington complex, Devon Gin School will give that special man the opportunity to work with experienced distillers at workshops when all gin-lovers can learn about the process of creating the spirit and make their own sample.

They will learn about botanicals, choose and mix the gin recipe, design and make a bottle label and take some home. They will also find an on-site shop selling different tipples, including flavoured liqueurs.

The cost is £52.50 for one or two sharing one still or £105 for up to four sharing two stills and details can be found here

Drive a tank

Set among the woodland of Escot Park, fans of unusual machinery can find a secret treasure trove at Tank Land, a company organising mini-tank adventures.

No matter the skill level, all driving-enthusiasts can experience time behind the controls of the vehicle with experienced instructors overseeing the session. A drive through the woodland and its muddy hills and dips adds a touch of authenticity to the ride.

The cost starts at £15 for one and more details can be found here


Take flight

What could be more exhilarating than taking the controls of a plane? Your dad will receive one-to-one training with a licenced instructor and will be in the air for around 30 minutes.

For an extra cost they can also take a passenger to enjoy the experience. The sessions are with Aviation South West.

A flight for one costs £99.50 or £139 with a passenger. For more details visit the website .

Meet the birds

Yarak Birds of Prey near Exeter houses 35 birds, including one hooded vulture which you will be able to meet.

The venue hosts flying displays, handling experiences and parties to help celebrate that special occasion. Staff are on hand to answer questions and share their in-depth knowledge with visitors as they roam the grounds and check on the hawks, owls, eagles and falcons.

The experience costs £39.99 for one or £65.95 for two and it can be booked here


How about tickets to see a comedian or his favourite band?

Martin Kemp Goes back to the 80s

The Spandau Ballet legend turned TV heart-throb, will headline a huge 80s night in Plymouth this summer.

Following a string of rapturously-received sold-out shows around the UK in 2018, the star will be back on the decks to spin all the biggest and best hits from the seminal 1980s

It is on at Plymouth Guildhall on Friday, June 7, 2019. Click here for more details and tickets.


Lenny Henry

Lenny will be on tour and stopping off at Plymouth with his show An Evening with Lenny Henry –  Who Am I, Again? on November 10. 

Buy your tickets here

Our pick of the top live events in Plymouth

Here are some of the big names coming to Plymouth Pavilions

Strictly Come Dancing the Professionals Tour 2019 – May 22/23

Tickets start at £34.50 available here

WWE July 19/20

Tickets start at £19 available here

Pixies – September 14

Tickets start at £43.45 available here

Aled Jones and Russell Watson: In Harmony Tour – September 29

Tickets start at £33 available here

An evening with Will Young and special guests – October 2

Tickets start at £40 available here

Two Door Cinema Club – October 13

Tickets are £33 available here

Kevin Bloody Wilson – October 30

Tickets start at £33.85 available here

Diversity – October 26

Tickets start at £32 available here

Russell Kane, The Fast and the Curious – November 2

Tickets start at £22. 20 available here

Tim Minchin: Back 2019 – November 5/6

Tickets start at £44.25 available here

Josh Widdicombe: Bit Much – November 16

Tickets start at £22.20 available here

Jonathan Pie: Fake News Tour – December 1

Tickets start at £19 available here

Rob Beckett:Wallop – December 6

Tickets are £25.50 available here

Romesh Ranganathan: the Cynic’s Mixtape – December 13/14

Tickets start at £25.50 available here

Jools Holland and his Rhythm and Blues Orchestra – December 20

Tickets start at £35 available here

Ed Byrne:If I’m honest – March 28 2020

Ticket are £28 available here

River Dance 25th anniversary tour – April 11/12 2020

Tickets start at £41 available here

Jimmy Carr: Terribly Funny- April 17 2020

Tickets start at £32 available here

Check out what is on and book tickets for shows at the venue at Ticketmaster here or See Tickets here


The three day festival takes place in Newquay in August and features the likes of the Wu-Tang Clan, Florence and the machine, Dizzee Rascale, The Wombats, Lewis Capaldi and Jax Jones.

Tickets start from £74 and can be bought via the website


Wireless touch speaker

Quick and easy, this battery operated speaker means he can play all his favourite music a little louder where ever he is.

It costs £17.99 and you can buy it here

Stormtrooper Gin

You get two reusable bottles modelled on the real original stormtrooper helmets, filled with delicious artisan gin. Perfect for any Star Wars fan who enjoys a cheeky tipple.

The gin is from award-winning Bimber Distillery – one is London Dry Gin with juniper berries, peppery spices, and a gentle citrus finish, the other is Sloe Gin with fresh berries with a kick of pepper, slightly creamy and softly fruity.

They cost £49.99 and can be purchased here


Spy watch

Bond fans will love this watch that contains a video recorder which can film up to around 115 minutes, including audio with its 4GB memory.

There is a 2.0 mega pixel camera cleverly disguised on the clock face. However, you might want to suggest they are not too Bond, not everyone will want to be filmed.

The watch costs £34.95. Buy it here

Cushion faces

Get their face, or someone else’s, printed on a cushion for them to snuggle up to.

They cost £24.99 and you can buy them here

National Trust or English Heritage membership

If he loves history and the outdoors then what about a membership to either the National Trust or English Heritage which gives him access to hundreds of places across the UK.

You can get a family membership to both for £16 a month.

How to sign up to the National Trust

The National Trust looks after more than 500 places across the UK which includes some of the best beaches, parks, forests and wildlife areas in the country.

For a monthly or yearly fee you can enjoy as much of it as you like when becoming a National Trust member.

Individual memberships are priced at:

  • Adults (aged 26 and over) – £69 a year, or £5.75 a month
  • Young person (aged 18-25) – £34.50 a year
  • Junior (aged 0-17) – £10 a year

Join here

Here’s what you get:

  • Free entry to over 500 special places
  • Free parking at most National Trust car parks
  • National Trust Handbook full of ideas to help you plan a visit
  • National Trust Magazine sent to you three times a year
  • Regular newsletters sent straight to your inbox

This article contains affiliate links, which means we may receive a commission on any sales of products or services we write about. This article was written completely independently, see more details here

How to sign up to English Heritage

More than 400 historic buildings, monuments and sites spanning six millennia are cared for by English Heritage, including prehistoric sites, grand medieval castles, Roman forts and even a Cold War bunker.

For a monthly or yearly fee you can enjoy as much of it as you like when becoming an English Heritage member.

Memberships are priced at –

  • Adult (aged 18 and over) £60 a year or £5 a month
  • Joint adult £105 a year or £8.75 a month
  • Family (One adult and up to six children) £60 a year or £5 a month
  • Family 2 (Two adults and up to 12 children) £105 a year or £8.75 a month
  • Senior (65 and over) £51 a year or £4.25 a month
  • Adult and senior £93 a year or £7.75 a month
  • Joint senior £78 a year or £6.50 a month
  • Young adult/student (18-25years) £48 a year or £4 a month

Join here

What you can enjoy –

  • Unlimited access to more than 400 historic places
  • Free entry for up to six children 
  • Free handbook worth £10.95
  • Free or reduced entry to events
  • Free parking at English Heritage managed sites
  • Exclusive members’ magazine four times a year
  • Members’ rewards and offers

This article contains affiliate links, which means we may receive a commission on any sales of products or services we write about. This article was written completely independently, see more details  here


Now TV  

How about a subscription so he can watch all his favourite shows, like Game of Thrones or a Sky cinema package so he can also relax with the best films. 

Packages start at £7.99 a month. Sign up here


Rail Live 2019: GWR to run direct passenger services

Great Western Railway is to operate passenger services between Paddington and Long Marston on June 19/20 in support of Rail Live.

The special trains will call at Reading, Oxford and Honeybourne en route to the Quinton Rail Technology Centre, with an additional stop at Didcot Parkway for the first service to the event.

Subject to operational requirements, GWR plans that the first and last services will be formed of a Class 802, with the middle services to use a ‘Turbo’ diesel multiple unit.

GWR Managing Director Mark Hopwood said: “We are pleased to be able to support Rail Live 2019 by making it easier for visitors to get to and from the event. This is a really important industry event which has been growing year on year, and this year is shaping up to be bigger and better than before.”

To be held at the Quinton Rail Technology Centre in Long Marston on June 19/20, Rail Live is expected to be attended by more than 6,000 people and 250-plus exhibitors.

Rail Live is a trade show for individuals working in the rail industry. You will need to register with a verified industry email address to attend. For more details, including the agenda, see

Fight in early hours in Teignmouth leaves man in hospital with serious head injuries

A man is in hospital with serious head injuries following a fight in the early hours in the centre of town.

Several police units were called the the incident which was initially reported to have involved a number of people in Fore Street in Teignmouth.

The Force Incident Manager (FIM) at Devon and Cornwall Police confirmed they were called just after 2am today (Saturday, May 18). The ambulance service also attended.

One man suffered serious head injuries and was taken by ambulance to Derriford Hospital in Plymouth. He remained in hospital this morning.

No arrests have been made.

Police are continuing to investigate the incident.

The FIM said: “The initial report was that a number of people were fighting but whether one or more persons were responsible we don’t know at the moment.

“It ended up that someone has suffered quite serious head injuries as a result.

“There will probably be a witness appeal because as we understand it no arrest have been made.

“Officers are still doing enquiries at the scene, including door-to-door enquiries.”

Investigation after 170 people fall ill following football tour to Devon

About 170 people – mostly children – have been taken ill with vomiting and diarrhoea after a junior football tournament was held in Devon.

Public Health England and local environmental health officers have launched an investigation into the incident, which has seen five cases of the parasitic infection Cryptosporidium confirmed so far and at least two people have been hospitalised.

The infection can be life-threatening to people with poor immune systems.

Parents from the Midlands, Wales and Bristol are claiming that all of those who became ill swam in a pool at the Devon Valley Holiday Village in Shaldon on the River Teign.

But the family owners of the holiday park say that tests on the water have all come back clear, and Environmental Health officers have given them the go-ahead to keep their indoor pool open.

R&T Football Tours organised the Devon Classic junior event, bringing teams from the Midlands, Wales and Bristol over the May Day bank holiday weekend with teams staying at different holiday parks and hotels around South Devon, playing matches at the Newton Abbot Devon Football Association headquarters in Coach Road, Newton Abbot.

Devon Valley Holiday Park at Shaldon

Devon Valley Holiday Park at Shaldon

Public Health England and Teignbridge Council’s Environmental Health Office have both confirmed they are investigating and have taken samples from the pool at Devon Valley.

The owner of the holiday park, Gail Massey, told DevonLive that they are working with Public Health England, and so far all tests run by the Environmental Health officers were clear.

She added: “This is a family business and we have never had an incident prior to this and not had a single complaint since since.

“The investigation is ongoing to find the source. They went to a lot of different places including Decoy Lake over that weekend and it is up to Public Health to establish the cause.

“We are working with them and doing everything we can to help. I want the facts to come out. It is frustrating that they are blaming us on Facebook and TripAdvisor and we would like to be cleared as soon as possible.”


One dad, Mark Reynolds, said 23 people have fallen ill from their Withymoor Colts party, who come from near Stourbridge in the West Midlands.

 Two children and one adult have now had Cryptosporidium confirmed from their party.

Matt said that 170 of the visiting children and some parents have become ill with vomiting and diarrhoea and he knows of five confirmed cases of Cryptosporidium so far. Two people he knows were hospitalised – one girl and one boy.

“The problem is that most people were not tested because at first we thought they had picked up a bug.”

Cryptosporidium are parasites that travel to the  small intestine and burrow into the walls of the intestines. In people with poor immune systems it can be life threatening.

The swimming pool at the holiday park remains open after inspections, but the Teignbridge Enivornmental Health inspectors have taken samples and are awaiting results.

Matt says: “We have set up a WhatsApp group and there are 170 altogether who are ill.”

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His two children Imogen, 11, and Lewis, nine, are among the people who have been ill.

He said: “Last Friday, May 10 – my lad was sick having to come home from school. Later on my daughter was sick. We put this down to a tummy bug and thought nothing of it.

“By chance we spoke to other parents in the team – it turns out that 20 children and three adults were all unwell from our team with the same symptoms – upset stomachs, vomiting and fatigue.

“We then realised that the ill part of the party were the ones who visited the pool, the guys who were well were actually sitting out by the caravans. It is also worth noting that the only two children who are still well both did not swim.

“I then turned detective and managed to find other teams from the tournament through social media – many had the same illness and had been in the pool only, to date we estimate 170 people have become sick.

“The only two children from our party who are not sick did not swim in the pool and the only adults who are ill are the ones who went in to supervise them.”

One of the dads who has tested positive for Cryptosporidium is Andy Morgan.

He said: “I have had it confirmed this afternoon that I have tested positive for Cryptosporidium. 
“From my family, both myself and my two children (aged six and nine) went in the pool and my wife didn’t.

“My children, although they have not been tested, both suffered from sickness  and diarrhoea.

“My sickness symptoms started last Sunday and only finished on Wednesday evening. However I have been off work all week because of risk of infection. I think that currently I am the third in our party  to have tested positive for Cryptosporidium.”


Cryptosporidiosis bacteria

Cryptosporidiosis bacteria What is Cryptosporidium

Cryptosporidium infection (cryptosporidiosis) is an illness caused by tiny, one-celled cryptosporidium parasites, according to the non-profitmaking Mayo Clinic.

When cryptosporidia (krip-toe-spoe-RID-e-uh) enter your body, they travel to your small intestine and then burrow into the walls of your intestines. Later, cryptosporidia are shed in your feces.

In most healthy people, a cryptosporidium infection produces a bout of watery diarrhea and the infection usually goes away within a week or two.

If you have a compromised immune system, a cryptosporidium infection can become life-threatening without proper treatment.

You can help prevent a cryptosporidium infection by practicing good hygiene and avoiding swallowing water from pools, recreational water parks, lakes and streams.


The first signs and symptoms of cryptosporidium infection usually appear within a week after infection and may include:

  • Watery diarrhea
  • Dehydration
  • Lack of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Stomach cramps or pain
  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

Symptoms may last for up to two weeks, though they may come and go sporadically for up to a month, even in people with healthy immune systems. Some people with cryptosporidium infection may have no symptoms.

When to see a doctor

Seek medical attention if you develop watery diarrhea that does not get better within a few days the Mayo Clinic advises.

Elderly woman seriously injured after being knocked over by electric unicycle

An elderly woman is in hospital with serious injuries after being struck by an electric unicycle.

The incident happened last Saturday, (May 11), at around 3pm, where a man reportedly lost control of the unicycle before it collided with a pedestrian, who is believed to be in her 90s.

Police are investigating the collision, and also what laws may have been broken with the the electric unicycle.

A police spokesperson said: ” Police are investigating an incident that took place in Teignmouth that has left an elderly woman with serious injuries. The incident took place on Wellington Street just after 3pm on Saturday May 11.


“It is believed that a man who was riding a mechanically propelled unicycle lost control, hit a kerb before colliding with a pedestrian; The pedestrian is an elderly lady who sustained serious injuries and remains in hospital.

“Enquiries continue in relation to this incident and officers have seized the unicycle as well and secure CCTV of the incident. The Roads Policing Team are now looking further into this matter, and are seeking clarity in relation to what legislation is available to us and what laws may have been broken in connection to this matter.”

Wellington Street

According to Surrey police, an electric cycle is a ‘mechanically propelled vehicle’, meaning anyone wishing to use them on the roads need to register with the DVLA, insure them, pay tax on them, hold a valid driving licence and wear a helmet.


Surrey’s Roads Policing Unit tweeted: “Illegal use of these devices could result in a prosecution for the rider and/or owner for numerous offences and the vehicle could be seized and disposed of.

“We wouldn’t want you spending your hard earned £££ for it all to be wasted.”

Government guidance says electrically powered vehicles – including hoverboards, Segways, electric unicycles, go-peds and U Wheels – are classed as motor vehicles, so need to be properly taxed and registered.

They also can’t be ridden on pavements at all.


However, registering your new gadget might also prove challenging as most of them don’t meet the DVLA’s construction standards, meaning the only place you can legally ride them could be on private land.

In practice, the police said they would use discretion in applying this law.

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“But where we see such things being used dangerously or in an anti social way we will take them away,” they tweeted.

“People are often surprised and say they wouldn’t have bought one if they had know about the laws.”

Renfe targets UK high-speed market

Britain’s continued membership of the European Union might be a thorny topic at the moment, but across the Channel it’s very much business as usual for the self-styled EU 27.

This includes the growing liberalisation of Member States’ domestic rail markets as part of the EU’s Fourth Railway Package, which is designed to increase competition and reduce state subsidy. 

The legislation requires separation of the management of track and trains, and for state operators to give up their monopolies on operating services. But its implementation has often proved controversial – including in France, where President Macron’s bid to privatise SNCF was met by crippling nationwide strikes from March 22-June 28 2018 that cost the beleaguered operator some 21 million euros a day. 

Despite the industrial action, the reforms are now being implemented. France’s regional market is scheduled to open up to competitive tendering at the end of this year, followed by the high-speed market a year later.

The same will happen over the border in Spain, where state-run Renfe is gearing up to compete with the private sector from December 2020.

Ironically, SNCF was among the first international operators to express an interest in competing with Renfe in its home market, after its head of long-distance rail Rachel Picard told members of the press last month that plans are currently being considered to launch a Spanish version of SNCF’s popular low-cost high-speed brand Ouigo. 

In response, Renfe has strongly hinted that it will launch a low-cost high-speed service of its own to run alongside its existing AVE services.

With more than 3,100km (1,900 miles) of track, Renfe’s AVE services operate on the longest high-speed network in Europe, connecting cities across Spain at speeds of up to 310kph (192mph). 

However, Renfe says that its cost base remains too high, and that reducing prices will be the key to not only protecting its market share from on-track competition, but also in tempting people away from other modes of transport in the long-distance market. 

For example, rail’s modal share is only 39% of the Madrid-Barcelona market, with many people still choosing the cheaper option of either driving (33%) or using the Puente Aereo ‘air shuttle’ (23%) to make the 630km (391-mile) journey. The remaining 5% is attributed to buses and coaches.

Renfe is likely to use its existing high-speed fleet to offer these new services, and will therefore be reliant on sweating these assets and exploiting digital sales channels to push down overheads.

“The opening up of the market is a key part of the five-year strategic plan we launched in December, and an opportunity to transform the company,” General Manager of Strategy Manel Villalante tells RAIL. 

“The three key enablers of the plan will be a change in corporate culture to become more diverse, the creation of new positions and upskilling so that we can digitally transform, and the transitioning from a classic operator to an integral mobility operator.

“We have to define new products, and the prospect of new competition has forced us to rethink new elements of our products, such as lower prices. 

“In terms of efficiency and revenue this is a very good thing, because even if we lose market share the size of the market can still double. But we must reduce prices and not quality, for which we have good scores from passengers alongside safety. The passenger expectations might be different, but the general quality and punctuality must be the same.” 

Renfe is also seeking to increase its competitiveness by embracing innovation. It has launched the two-year TrenLab scheme with Spanish telecoms giant Telefonica, to work with startup companies to accelerate new products in mobility, transport and logistics.

So far, four projects have been identified, including a hyperloop development by Zeleros, the IoMob open mobility platform, and the Travel ‘chatbot’ by nixi1 that enables users to book flights and hotel rooms by using SMS, WhatsApp and Telegram messages. 

A cash prize of 50,000 euros (£43,226) is being offered to the winning project, in the hope that it will create new business models and opportunities for revenue growth. 

Meanwhile, Renfe is also looking to tap into the global movement away from offering a single mode of transport to providing Mobility as a Service (MaaS) based on consumers’ individual travel needs. 

As well as offering passengers contactless payment and a train/bus combination to reach their destination, other new mobility services are being considered – including car-sharing, ride-sharing and bike-sharing. 

“If you don’t innovate you die, so we take a proactive approach instead of waiting to see where other operators go,” explains Villalante.

“We are interested in a multimodal approach like bicycles, and for me Transport for London is probably the best model of integrated planning. We need the best trains, but we want to be with the customer all the way from door-to-door. The train is the tool, but the product is a service.” 

Last but not least, Renfe is also targeting growth in foreign markets, by exporting its expertise in both commuter and high-speed rail operations. 

The company’s efforts have so far been limited to its operation since 2011 of the Haramain high-speed line from Medina to Mecca in Saudi Arabia (as part of the Saudi-Spanish Al-Shoula Group consortium), and its appointment as the shadow operator of the planned Texas Central high-speed line in the USA.

In the UK, Renfe had been expected to join the Virgin/Stagecoach joint bid for the flagship West Coast Partnership, which includes three to five years of operating Phase 1 of HS2 from its opening between London and Birmingham in 2026.

SNCF eventually signed up with Virgin and Stagecoach, but a delay in the tendering process for WCP (which had originally been due to start in April 2019) enabled Renfe to get in on the action anyway, and the company joined MTR’s West Coast Partnership bid as a sub-contractor in December 2018. 

According to Secretary of State for Transport Chris Grayling, WCP is now due to be awarded next month. And following Stagecoach’s disqualification from three UK rail franchise bids (including WCP), due to alleged non-compliance with pension rules (RAIL 877), the MTR/Renfe bid will be fighting it out with the only other remaining bid from FirstGroup and Trenitalia. 

However, Villalante is keen to stress that Renfe’s expansion plans will not be focused solely on high-speed rail, and that it will consider all opportunities across Europe and in the UK to operate train services.

“If we lose market share in Spain then we have to get it from outside, and so we want to compete in high-speed and commuter alliances worldwide. We want revenue from international operations to reach 10% in five years’ time.

“We don’t want to do this alone, but to establish strategic high-value alliances. Europe is our natural market, but that depends on the individual circumstances of countries. The UK was the first market to liberalise in Europe, so that is very interesting to us. And now there is a franchising review , we will need to keep an eye on that.

“It is a leading, powerful market that has a lot happening, and we are delighted to have the opportunity to bid to bring our high-speed knowledge to the UK to help deliver HS2. It shows Renfe’s ambition to remain a leader in high-speed rail.”

Two chances to buy a Subway franchise in a Devon seaside resort

If you just can’t resist the lure of a freshly made sandwich, packs with your favourite fillings, sauces and pickles, here are two exciting chances to buy your very own Subway franchise in a Devon seaside resort.

Available as a going concern business, Subway in Ilfracombe is in a prominent trading location on the High Street.

The double-fronted shop unit is available with the current Subway fit out as well as trade inventory to start taking money the first day a new owner takes over.

The store offers table and chair seating for about 20 covers while also having the Subway fit-out servery counter and rear preparation areas, including a walk-in chiller.

Subway in Ilfracombe is for sale

Subway in Ilfracombe is for sale

The last couple of years have provided turnovers of between £180,000 and £200,000 with an annual rent of £9,000 per annum as well as the property being eligible for small business rates relief.

It is thought the business is ideal for an owner occupier or partnership to operate the business and reduce the requirement for high staffing costs.

Having such a franchise offers the best of both worlds – you could have an established business in which you are your own boss while also having the backup, help and marketing from an international company.


The business is available with a quoting premium of £44,950 which includes the goodwill of the business and a trade inventory of fixtures, fittings and equipment.

Further details can be obtained from JD Commercial who can be contacted on 01237 424053.

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If you would prefer to sell delicious sandwiches in South Devon, a Subway franchise in the seaside town of Teignmouth has just gone on sale.

Award winning licence and leisure commercial agents Bettesworths is delighted to be marketing the well-located unit which is available fully-equipped.

With spacious internal seating for 22 and external seating for 16, Subway Teignmouth has built a solid customer base with opening hours of 8am to 6pm, seven days a week. However, these hours could be extended should the next operator choose to.

Subway in Teignmouth is on the market

Subway in Teignmouth is on the market

This valuable franchise agreement is fully supported by Subway who, for a percentage of the weekly turnover, provides all the national and international advertising. An elected board also negotiates on your behalf with suppliers to agree the best possible prices.

Prospective franchisees will have to be approved by The Reginal Business Development Agent. Any potential buyer will be required to go through the process of passing the Wonderlic test, UoS courses, 40 hours of in-store training before attending and passing franchisee training.


This ground floor lock-up unit is available via assignment of the current sub lease with circa four years left to run. The rent is £25,000 per annum and the tenant has repairing and insuring obligations.

The Head Lease is protected by the 1954 Landlord & Tenant Act providing the tenant with rights to renew at the end of the term.

You could extend the opening hours at this Teignmouth eatery

You could extend the opening hours at this Teignmouth eatery

Bettesworths is marketing the business at an asking price of £29,950 to include the trade inventory and goodwill.

Genevieve Stringer who heads the catering arm at Bettesworths said: “The sale of this going concern Subway unit allows an operator to take over this franchise at a massively reduced ingoing premium.


“Should an operator wish to start up a new site the initial outlay is as much as £150,000. I therefore expect there to be keen interest from the start.”

For further information please contact Genevieve Stringer on 01803 212021 or email

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