Parts of the UK rail network experienced significant challenges following the introduction in May 2018 of the most extensive timetable changes for a generation. Major delays to electrification projects by Network Rail, the infrastructure provider, meant that Arriva Rail North (ARN) had to rewrite its entire new timetable and do so in 16 weeks rather than the normal 40 weeks. This caused delays to driver training, leading to major disruption on parts of the network at the start of the new timetable. ARN put in place an interim timetable on some routes to stabilize services and a full service was restored later in 2018. An independent inquiry from the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) concluded that regulators, government, Network Rail and operators all made mistakes which contributed to the issues. The inquiry found the root cause for the problems affecting ARN was significant delays to electrification projects, which were due to be completed in 2016 but are now expected to finish in 2019.
In Hungary DB Arriva launched a direct airport shuttle bus service in 2017. Due to the success of the service and growing passenger demand, DB Arriva increased service capacity by 55% in the year under review.
The UK Government announced an independent review of the UK rail industry, covering industry structures and the current franchising system. Alongside this, the Government announced the CrossCountry tender will not proceed. Services will continue to be operated by CrossCountry with options to be considered by the UK Government in due course.