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Railhub Archive
2001-02-15 SRA-001
Strategic Rail Authority


Building a better railway: SRA shortlists four for Wales and Borders franchise

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Wales and Borders

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Strategic Rail Authority

Building a better railway: SRA shortlists four for Wales and Borders franchise

15 February 2001
source Strategic Rail Authority
type Press release

The next step towards establishing a new passenger rail franchise for Wales and Borders was taken today as the Strategic Rail Authority (SRA) shortlisted four parties to prepare Best and Final Offers.

The shortlisted parties are:

o Arriva plc (franchisee of Northern Spirit and Merseyrail) in conjunction with Connex Transport UK Limited (franchisee of South Eastern, and also South Central).

o FirstGroup plc (franchisee of Great Eastern, Great Western and North Western).

o National Express Group plc (franchisee of nine operations including Wales and West, Cardiff Railway and Central Trains).

o Serco Rail (division of Serco Limited, manage the Manchester Metrolink and other rail technical services).

When let, the franchise will comprise most services currently operated within Wales by the Wales and West, Cardiff Railways (ValleyLines), First North Western and Central Trains franchises

Mike Grant, SRA Chief Executive, said:

“This has been a very popular competition, with a good range of proposals received. I anticipate a tough competition to operate this new franchise, and the SRA will be working hard to use that process to extract the best possible deal for passengers."

“The SRA has pressed hard over the past couple of months to separate those services that will transfer to the new Wales and Borders franchise, and to enable them to operate together from later this year as an interim arrangement. This is intended to simplify the transition for passengers and staff, paving the way for the creation of the new franchise”.

Notes to Editors

1. The Wales and Borders franchise was announced by the Shadow SRA on 8 August 2000. It will embrace the following service groups, currently operated by four different operators:

· All of the services currently comprised within the Cardiff Railways (Valley Lines) franchise.

· Services currently operated as part of the Wales and West franchise in Wales, from Cardiff to Hereford, Shrewsbury and Manchester and from Wales to Birmingham, the West Country and 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 First 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 First Great Western, Virgin CrossCountry and Virgin West Coast are not included.

2. On 7 February the SRA announced that it had agreed terms with National Express Group plc (NEG) on the restructuring of the company’s Central Trains franchise to separate Central Wales (Aberystwyth) line and Cambrian Coast services for inclusion in the Wales & Borders franchise.

3. On 8 February the SRA announced that it had reached agreement with National Express Group plc (NEG) to extend their Cardiff Railway and Wales and West franchises, from the current termination date of 31 March 2001 to 30 April 2004. This is to ensure continuation of services until they can be transferred to the new Wales and Borders franchise. The agreement contains provision for the existing franchises to be terminated early as and when Wales and Borders comes on stream.

4. A map of the new Wales and Borders franchise was published by the Shadow SRA on 8 August 2000. This can be viewed on our website, www.sra.gov.uk in the ‘News’ section.

Important Notice

This news release is issued by the Strategic Rail Authority 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 Strategic Rail Authority and will not regard any other person as its client in relation to passenger railway franchising or be responsible to anyone other than the Strategic Rail Authority 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.

Media Enquiries: SRA Press Office 020 7654 6339/6294/6234/6387
Further information and announcements by the SRA are contained on our website: www.sra.gov.uk

Railhub Archive ::: 2001-02-15 SRA-001


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