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2000-06-15 SRA-002
Shadow Strategic Rail Authority

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New Prism deal paves way for Wales and Borders franchise


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Shadow Strategic Rail Authority

New Prism deal paves way for Wales and Borders franchise
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2000-06-15 New Prism deal brings 20.5 million boost for rail (Shadow Strategic Rail Authority)

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date
15 June 2000
source Shadow Strategic Rail Authority
type Press release



The Franchising Director has today reached agreement in principle with Prism
Rail PLC on the restructuring of the group's current portfolio of passenger rail
franchises - West Anglia Great Northern (WAGN), Wales and West, Cardiff
Railway, and LTS Rail. This follows talks announced by both parties on 28
April.

The Wales & West and Cardiff Railway franchises will be surrendered on 31
March 2001, instead of early 2004. This will facilitate the SSRA's proposals to
create a single franchise for Wales and the Borders, currently the subject of a
detailed feasibility study. A decision is expected over the next couple of
months.

The effect of the deal on Prism's other two franchises is as follows:
LTS will be retained through to 2011 and Prism may invest 20.5 million on
the line in areas to be agreed with the SSRA. In addition, CCTV will be fitted
in all of the current order of 46 new trains, to compensate further for their late
introduction into service.

WAGN will be separated into two business units: Great Northern (Kings
Lynn, Cambridge and Peterborough services to Kings Cross, and Welwyn
Garden City and Hertford North local services to Kings Cross and Moorgate)
and West Anglia (Cambridge line and North East London services into
Liverpool Street, including Stansted Express).

1. Great Northern will be relinquished on 31 March 2001 to facilitate
integration of its services with the 800 million Thameslink 2000
project, which goes to public inquiry later this month.
2. West Anglia will be retained until April 2004, although Prism have
indicated that they will co operate with the Franchising Director if he
wishes to commence any refranchising process involving West Anglia
before this expiry date. The existing subsidy for WAGN will be split
between the two businesses.

Commenting on the restructuring deal, Franchising Director and SSRA Chief
Executive, Mike Grant said:

"We have always sought in our franchise negotiations to achieve the best
possible outcome for passengers and the taxpayer.

"The new arrangements for the three shorter term Prism franchises, which
were originally let for seven years, reflect this and will greatly accelerate the
national franchise replacement programme - particularly in Wales, where we
are investigating a single franchise. In London, the ability to integrate the
Great Northern services will considerably enhance the new Thameslink 2000
proposal. For LTS, the extra 20.5 million investment, and the commitment to on train
CCTV offer real added value for passengers on this busy Essex line".

Note to Editors

The restructuring deal is subject to completion of final legal documentation. It
is expected that the necessary amendments to the existing franchise
agreement in order to reflect these changes will be finalised by the end of
June.
The SSRA has negotiated with Prism two previous passenger dividend
packages for LTS passengers. On 21 December 1999, a comprehensive multi
million package was agreed to compensate for late delivery of 44 new
trains. On 12 May 2000, reductions of up to 168 in the cost of season ticket
renewals were secured following failure to provide sufficient capacity for
passengers.


Railhub Archive ::: 2000-06-15 SRA-002





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