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Railhub Archive
2003-08-01 SRA-001
Strategic Rail Authority


SRA announces preferred bidder for new integrated Wales franchise

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Wales & Borders
Wales and Borders

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Strategic Rail Authority

SRA announces preferred bidder for new integrated Wales franchise

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1 August 2003
source Strategic Rail Authority
type Press release

The Strategic Rail Authority (SRA) today announced that Arriva Trains Ltd has
been selected as the preferred bidder for the new Wales & Borders Franchise
with responsibility for operating all local and regional train services in Wales
and the Border counties. The decision follows a comprehensive competitive
tendering process.

It is planned that Arriva Trains Ltd will take over the franchise by the end of
2003 and operate it for fifteen years, subject to five-year Performance Review

The key commitments contained within the new franchise include:
Creation of an integrated Wales & Borders franchise structured around
services currently operated today;

Introduction of seven class 150 Diesel Multiple Units planned from
December 2004, leading to greater operational flexibility and resilience,
to replace current, less suitable stock;

Introduction of 30 new integrated train / bus tickets by November 2005,
permitting many new opportunities for through journeys;
Improved bi-lingual access, including a Welsh Language customer
service phone line, passenger timetables and information, full bi-lingual
signage and recorded station announcements at stations where there
are existing public address systems by May 2004;

Introduction of the new, customer-focused 'Station Adopter' scheme;
£400,000 on improving station car parks at Cardiff Central (Wood
Street), Chester, Hereford, Newport and Shrewsbury;

Final development of a simplified timetable, making train services much
easier for passengers to use, as well as better performance and
connections, for implementation within the first three years of the
franchise for the Valley Lines and inter-urban services;

Abolition of the £1 reservation charge for bicycles on trains;

A better compensation scheme for passengers.

SRA Chairman, Richard Bowker, said:
"This is a major step towards the new integrated Welsh franchise. The
specification of the new franchise has been designed to encourage more
people to use rail and places a strong emphasis on local accountability and
management. This has all been achieved through a partnership between the
Welsh Assembly Government and the SRA. Arriva now have a short period in
which to reach Franchise Agreement signature with the Authority, with the aim
of taking over the franchise by the end of the year."

Notes to Editors
1. The Wales & Borders franchise includes all local and regional
passenger rail services within Wales, services from Cardiff to Hereford,
Shrewsbury and Manchester, and those from Wales to Birmingham,
North West England and the West Country. The services are currently
operated under existing franchise agreements by National Express
Group plc, using the 'Wales & Borders' branding - with the exception of
services in North Wales and parts of the North West of England,
currently operated by First Group plc (as First North Western).

2. The new franchise will include the operation of all stations in Wales,
and those predominantly served by the new franchise in the border
counties, including Chester, Shrewsbury and Hereford. It will include
the current Passenger Service Requirement as well as additional
service commitments.

3. Long-distance high-speed services to and from Wales will continue to
be operated by First Great Western, Virgin CrossCountry and Virgin
West Coast.

Railhub Archive ::: 2003-08-01 SRA-001


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