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2000-08-08 SRA-001
Shadow Strategic Rail Authority

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New franchise for Wales and Borders confirmed:competition launched for new franchise:


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Shadow Strategic Rail Authority

New franchise for Wales and Borders confirmed:competition launched for new franchise:
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related documents


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

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date
8 August 2000
source Shadow Strategic Rail Authority
type Press release



PDF Map attached [[not available]]

New franchise for Wales and Borders confirmed:

Competition launched for new nranchise

A dedicated rail network for Wales and the border counties of England was
announced in Cardiff today by Mike Grant, Franchising Director and Chief
Executive of the Shadow Strategic Rail Authority. Proposals to run the new
franchise were also invited from the market by the SSRA.

The scope of the network has now been defined following extensive
consultation, started in March, with the National Assembly for Wales and
other key stakeholders. Companies are today invited to pre-qualify to bid for
the new franchise - the first stage in the competitive process to appoint a
franchise operator.

Announcing this milestone for passengers in Wales and the border counties,
Mike Grant said:

" Today marks a new approach to travel to, from, and within Wales, where rail
has a vital role in serving the needs of rural communities.

" This proposal will address the needs of rail passengers in Wales. Instead of
four different operators offering a disparate range of services, what we will be
seeing is one cohesive network, run by a single, fully focussed, coherent
operator.

" The competition to select that operator is now on in earnest. It will be a
tough one, with extra investment and better services our overriding criteria. I
expect to be in a position to announce the winner early next spring."

The new Wales and the borders franchise will embrace the following service
groups, currently operated by four different operators:
The entire Cardiff Railways (Valley Lines) franchise.
Wales and West services in Wales, their route from Cardiff to Hereford,
Shrewsbury and Manchester as well as long distance inter-urban
services from Wales to Birmingham, to the West Country and to
London (Waterloo) via Bristol.
First North Western services to and along the North Wales Coast.
Central Trains services from Birmingham to (and within) Mid-Wales.
The franchise will include all stations in Wales, including those currently
operated by Great Western and those predominantly served by the new
franchise in the border counties, including the key stations of Chester,
Shrewsbury and Hereford.
Services currently provided by Great Western Trains, Virgin CrossCountry
and Virgin West Coast are not included in this new franchise.

There is a pre-qualification process for interested parties. Applications should
be made to Nick Newton, Executive Director, Franchise Management at the
Shadow Strategic Rail Authority, 55 Victoria Street, London, SW1H 0EU in the
first instance. Interested parties should contact Nick Newton no later than
noon on Tuesday 22 August 2000 to register their interest in the prequalification
process.

Notes to Editors

1. A map of the proposed new Wales and the borders franchise is
attached. Although the SSRA will consider proposals for provision of
additional services by companies which have pre-qualified.
2. Rail services in Wales are currently operated by PRISM Rail (Wales &
West and Cardiff Railways) First Great Western and North Western,
Virgin Trains (West Coast and CrossCountry) and National Express
Group (Central Trains).
3. On 15 June the Franchising Director announced a negotiated change
to the terms of the PRISM Rail portfolio of franchises, including early
termination of the Wales & West and Cardiff Railways franchises on 31
March 2001. Prism Rail is also currently the subject of a takeover
proposal from National Express Group (announced 18 July, and still
subject to regulatory approval).

Important Notice

This news release is issued by the Franchising Director and its contents have
been approved for the purposes of section 57 of the Financial Services Act
1986 by KPMG Corporate Finance.

KPMG Corporate Finance is a division of KPMG which is authorised to carry
on investment business by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England
and Wales. This news release has been prepared for general information
purposes only and is not intended to form the basis of any investment
decision or constitute an offer or invitation to bid for any passenger rail
franchise or to acquire shares in a train operating company. Neither this news
release nor any copy of it should be taken into or distributed in Canada,
France, Japan or the United States except in accordance with an applicable
exemption. The distribution of this news release in other jurisdictions may be
restricted by law and therefore persons into whose possession this news
release comes should inform themselves about and observe any such
restrictions.

KPMG Corporate Finance is acting for the Franchising Director and will not
regard any other person as its client in relation to passenger railway
franchising or be responsible to anyone other than the Franchising Director for
providing the protections afforded to clients of KPMG Corporate Finance nor
for advising any other person on the contents of this news release or any
matter referred to in it.


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