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Michael Schabas

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Developer and operator of passenger rail businesses in Britain, Germany, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Estonia and Australia.


World Bank, 2010 Commissioned to review plans for finance and construction of the Rio San-Paulo High Speed Rail project under a PPP structure.

Hamburg-Köln Express, 2008-current Founder with German rail managers and Railroad Development Corporation launching Germany’s first independent intercity passenger rail service between Hamburg and Köln.

World Bank, 2008-current Commissioned by World Bank to study and evaluate market-based rail ticketing systems for China Railways. Previously completed a World Bank review on opportunities for alternative financing methods towards metro systems in China.

DSB-First, 2006 Negotiated joint venture between FirstGroup Plc and DSB, the Danish State Railways, which successfully bid for rail concessions serving  Copenhagen-Malmo (Oresund) route, and for a concession serving the Gothenburg region in Sweden.

Ofotbanen, 2004 Led investor group which acquired an interest in Ofotbanen, an independent rail operator carrying passengers and freight in Norway and Sweden.

Uzbekistan Railways, 2002 Reviewed rail tourism opportunities for the Asian Development Bank. Rail Tourism Strategies for Uzbekistan Railways.pdf

Melbourne Australia Trains (Metro) and Trams (Light Rail) 1999 Technical lead for the GB Railways bid (with Siemens, Deutsche Bank, and Bilfinger Berger) for five rail concessions in Victoria, Australia. GB Railways was shortlisted for all five franchises, but lost to more optimistic competitors. In all cases, winning bids proved undeliverable and were renegotiated within 3 years. 

GB Railways Group Plc (GBR), 1995-2003 Founded GB Railways Group Plc to acquire and develop railway businesses. The company was floated on the London Stock Exchange (AIM) in 1997, and was acquired by FirstGroup Plc in 2003. GBR Annual Report 2002.pdf 

● GBR operated the Anglia Railways franchise from 1997 to 2004. With turnover of £80m, Anglia operated 160km/h InterCity services in eastern England. Anglia was top rated with 50% passenger revenue growth and was twice named Train Operator of the Year. Anglia doubled mainline services and introduced new routes and through train services. Michael Schabas developed key strategies in the winning franchise bid. Delivering Better Train Services.pdf

● GBR led the Great Southern Railway (GSR) consortium which acquired the Indian Pacific, Ghan and Overland trains in Australia. Previously threatened with closure under state ownership, GSR continues to operate all three services profitably.

● GBR established Hull Trains, the first new passenger train company in the UK since privatisation. It now runs seven daily services between London and Hull in northeast England, using a fleet of 225km per hour trains.

● GBR led the acquisition of Edelaraudtee, a passenger and freight railway in Estonia and the first fully privatised railway in the former Soviet Union.

● GBR bid, unsuccessfully, for: Malawi Railways; Sydney-Canberra High Speed Line (with Siemens and Babcock & Brown); Melbourne passenger rail trains and trams (with GATX and Siemens); and the Cuzco-Macchu Picchu Railway (with Genesee & Wyoming).

WCML DevCo, 1994-1995 Founded WCML DevCo, a joint venture of Babcock & Brown, Booz Allen Hamilton, and Jacobs Consulting, which was retained by Railtrack Plc to devise ways to define, fund and implement the modernisation of the West Coast Main Line. 

Channel Tunnel Rail Link, 1992-1996 Advisor to Newham Borough Council, Kings Cross Residents, and then Union Railways Limited (a division of state-owned British Rail). Identified potential use of semi-derelict St Pancras station as the high speed rail terminal. Subsequently retained to develop and implement the scheme.