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2002-11-06 SRA-003
Strategic Rail Authority

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SRA announces new franchise for the west


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Thames Trains
Wessex Trains
SRA
franchises
franchising



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Strategic Rail Authority

SRA announces new franchise for the west
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date
6 November 2002
source Strategic Rail Authority
type Press release



The Strategic Rail Authority (SRA) today announced its intention to create a
new Greater Western rail franchise by no later than 2006, which will deliver
better quality, more coherent services for passengers between London and
the West.

The new franchise will combine the current Great Western Trains, Thames
Trains and Wessex Trains franchises into a single franchise. The decision
follows extensive consultation with passenger groups, local and regional
stakeholders and the rail industry on its policy to achieve a single franchised
operator at each major London station.

Richard Bowker, SRA Chairman, says:

"Combining the franchises serving Western England will simplify journey
planning and improve services for passengers.

"The Greater Western franchise will operate under the SRA's new franchising
policy that we announced today: we will be specifying what the franchisee
should deliver and will work closely alongside them, to ensure consistent
performance levels and high quality services. As part of the specification,
there will be Business Units within the franchise which will ensure that we
retain the focus on existing regions while reaping the performance, capacity
and passenger service benefits that combining these franchises will bring.

"This is a process which will deliver improvements to services for passengers
in the West of England, South Wales and the Thames Valley."

Notes to Editors

1. The SRA is currently considering options for Thames and Great
Western services under its Capacity Utilisation Policy (CUP).

2. The SRA intends to enter negotiations with National Express Group
next year to extend its existing Wessex Trains franchise from its
current expiry in April 2004 until it is combined as part of a
competitively-let Greater Western franchise by February 2006.

3. The SRA intends that all domestic services into Waterloo will be
operated by South West Trains from 2004 including the Waterloo-
Exeter services and Reading-Brighton services (which were originally
intended to form part of Wessex Trains) and the current limited Wales
& Borders Waterloo services.

4. Details of the SRA's new franchising policy and its decision on
combining rail franchises can be found in a press release and
document issued today. Those are available on the SRA website at www.sra.gov.uk

Media Enquiries: SRA Press Office 020 7654 6339/6387/6234


Railhub Archive ::: 2002-11-06 SRA-003





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