After GNER and National Express failed to run a franchise, a passenger "open-access" operator in Wrexham & Shropshire has failed. DB Schenker (the government owned German Rail Operator (sic)) pulled the plug after further losses.
Having been top of the Customer Survey ratings of all UK rail operators for the past 6 months it seems service alone is not enough to keep passengers paying. The convoluted route taking too long to travel to London seems to have been the factor. Virgin Trains (and Chiltern Railways, also owned by DBS) objected to the competition from stations along the route from Wrexham to London served by Virgin thus meaning that there was no real choice for passengers.
I have seen Grand Central trains pass through Doncaster with empty seats, but East Coast trains with standing room only; so in what is supposed to be a competitive market, "open-access" operators have their hands tied before they even begin.
Just look at the Freight operators which have failed despite been profitable and with contracts in place (Fastline being the obvious one).
It seems that the government want to put us all back in our cars rather than invest in rail; so they can get more revenue from Fuel Tax. So if anybody is reading this, please travel by trains when you can, find the cheapest fares and don't let the ConDem government get more Tax from you......