A NATIONAL travel operator running services across the North-East has revealed stronger profits after energy costs fell in its rail division.

Go-Ahead, which has a base in Newcastle, runs the Govia joint venture, and said its Southern, London Midland and Southeastern rail arm saw passenger journeys rise by up to five per cent.

It said rail profits stood at £10.5m for the first-half of the year.

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The company's bus network runs about 700 buses in the region, employing more than 2,000 people across Tyne and Wear, County Durham, Teesside and Northumberland.

Bosses said it remains on target to achieve £100m profits by 2015/16, having seen 14.7 per cent growth to £40.6m in the six months to December 28.

David Brown, group chief executive, said: “Overall performance in our bus and rail businesses is good.

"Our full-year expectations for our bus operations remain unchanged and we now expect the rail division to deliver operating profit ahead of our previous expectations."