The Swiss Federal Railways company (SBB) announced on Thursday that it is abandoning plans to bid for a concession to run part of Britain's railway network. The SBB said an entry into the British market did not make sense at a time when it was unclear how the concessions would be administered.
The British government is considering changes to the way the country's railway network is run in the wake of a series of accidents that have undermined public confidence in the system.
The transport minister, Stephen Byers, has extended the current concessions by two years while he looks at different possibilities. Most companies will now run lines until at least 2003.
New contracts are expected to be granted for a much shorter time than the current 12 to 20 years.
The SBB said it would continue to provide an advisory role for its British partner, John Laing Investments. Under a new agreement, it also has the option to participate if John Laing Investments eventually receives a railway concession.
The SBB said the abandonment of its plan to enter the British market did not mean that it was giving up its wider strategy of foreign expansion.
swissinfo with agencies
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