TRANSPORT group Arriva said its upbeat start to 2005 had continued and it was trading in line with expectations.

In the UK, the Sunderland-based company runs trains in Wales and buses in London and other cities and towns across the UK.

It also runs trains or buses in Denmark, Germany, Italy, Sweden, the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain.

The company said last month that overall pre-tax profits before goodwill and one-off items had risen 15 per cent to £116.3m on the back of a good performance by all its businesses.

The firm's continental European operations are its fastest growing operation, with turnover doubling in the past three years and strong growth expected to continue.

It said bus and rail markets in Europe were now worth more than £680m.

Last month, the company won a 15-year contract to run all regional rail services in Friesland and Groningen in the northern Netherlands.