Tracsis set for rail franchise benefits

TRANSPORT software firm Tracsis is looking forward to a spell of "intense" activity as three rail franchises are re-tendered.

The Leeds-based company, which designs and licenses planning software and consultancy services for the transport industry, believes the imminent re-tendering of the East Coast Mainline, Essex Thameside and Greater Anglia rail franchises will mean a surge in revenues.

Tracsis, which was spun out of the University of Leeds School of Computing, covers crew scheduling, crew rostering and performance modelling.

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Chief executive John McArthur said over the next 18 months he aims to release tools to automate vehicle planning and timetable development, which could significantly add to revenues. It is also gearing up for more acquisitions to increase its spread of services, after December's purchase of Safety Information Systems (SIS), a company that provides rail operators with data that helps to pinpoint potential danger zones.

"There are lots of deals out there and we've got a healthy pipeline of opportunities," said Mr McArthur. "I would certainly hope to announce one later this year, if not two.

"All the drivers within the rail industry are still fairly positive. The next three years of rail franchising looks to be pretty busy."

Invitations to tender for the rail franchises are expected to go out in May, and once shortlists of operators are released, Tracsis hopes firms will begin spending.

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"At the moment we expect to start work on all three of these franchises," added Mr McArthur, adding uncertainty could arise from a change of government.

Tracsis yesterday reported turnover in the six months to the end of January increased by six per cent to 1.01m, but pre-tax profit fell to 75,000 after increased investment.

Consultancy work during the period was lower due to a lack of re-franchising activity. However, its other work, including passenger counting and analysis, performed better than expected.

Tracsis added it has cash of 2.7m, giving it ample funds for