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2006-10-31 DfT-001
Department for Transport


Invitations to tender issued for three new rail franchises

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Department for Transport

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Department for Transport

Invitations to tender issued for three new rail franchises

31 Oct 2006 00:00
source Department for Transport
type Press release

Invitations to Tender (ITT) for bidders for three new rail franchises, New Cross Country, East Midlands and West Midlands will be issued by the Department for Transport today.

The ITTs set out minimum levels of service operators will deliver when the new franchises commence on 11th November 2007. Bidders are able to operate additional services, subject to operational constraints, over and above the services outlined. The deadlines for completed bids fall between late February and early March 2007, and the winners are expected to be announced in Summer 2007.

Overall, we have asked bidders to find ways to operate more capacity on the network to accommodate recent and future growth. Operational changes will facilitate train-lengthening on some core routes and a more regular timetable for many passengers. Bidders have been asked to price a 30% increase in capacity on key routes in the New Cross Country franchise.

There will be service changes in each of the new franchises to capitalise on the improvements brought about by the West Coast Main Line modernisation, which will put in place faster, more frequent services from 2008. Where possible, more frequent, longer trains or new services will operate.

The winners will accept interoperable smartcard ticketing across the whole of each franchise during their lifetime. Each contract will specify performance improvements. In the East and West Midlands franchises, where the operator will be responsible for stations, they will be required to achieve Secure Stations Accreditation for the busiest locations.

Rail Minister Tom Harris said:

"We want to build on the success of current operators, and expect bids to demonstrate how demand will be met.

"We have asked bidders to find ways for the new franchises to deliver for passengers. This will mean making smartcards available to more passengers, improving performance and ensuring there is a safer travelling environment at the busiest stations."

Notes to Editors

1. Pre Qualified Bidders: The parties that have pre-qualified for each franchise are:

New Cross Country East Midlands West Midlands Arriva Trains Cross Country Arriva Trains London & Birmingham Limited (Arriva plc) East Midlands Railway Limited Limited (Arriva (Govia)
First Cross Country Limited First East MTR Corporation (UK) (First Group plc) Midlands Limited Limited (MTR (First Group plc) Corporation of Hong
NXC Trains Limited NXE Trains Serco NedRailways (National Express Group Limited (National West Midlands Limited plc) Express Group (a Joint Venture plc) between Serco and
Virgin Voyager Trains Ltd Stagecoach
(Virgin Rail Group) Midland Rail
(Stagecoach Group

2. Snow Hill services: In addition Chiltern Railways (M40 Trains Ltd) are being invited to submit a separate proposal for the Snow Hill services to Birmingham

3. Capacity: Bidders for the New Cross Country franchise are being asked to price a 30% increase in capacity on key routes. They have also been asked to offer a price without the additional capacity added to ensure that the Department has a comparison which to properly evaluate increased capacity proposals.

4. Timetable changes - New Cross Country franchise. The following changes are planned:

* Cross Country services between Manchester and Scotland will stop in December 2007. Separately, TransPennine Express (TPE) will extend the existing Manchester Airport - Cumbria service to Scotland, offering comparable journey times to today.

* From no later than 2008 services between Birmingham and Scotland will be operated by Virgin West Coast

* Penzance and destinations in the South West will continue to be served by the same number of Cross Country trains and a new contractual commitment to operate summer services between the North East and North West of England to Newquay.

5. Timetable changes - West Midlands franchise. The timetable operated until December 2008 will be similar to today. Bidders will be asked to price an option for the retention of the Walsall - Wolverhampton service from December 2007. The timetable alterations in 2008 will mean:

* A broadly hourly new London - Crewe semi-fast service, serving Trent Valley stations, Stone and Stoke on Trent.

* Two trains an hour between Birmingham and Liverpool, calling at the new Liverpool South Parkway station, and two trains per hour between Birmingham and Northampton

* Curtailment of the current hourly Birmingham - Walsall - Cannock - Stafford service at Rugely Trent Valley, with a connection at Rugely Trent Valley with the London - Crewe semi-fast service. Bidders are also required to improve Rugely Trent Valley station.

* Operationally, it has not been possible to introduce an hourly Birmingham - Manchester semi-fast service.

6. Timetable changes - East Midlands franchise

* A dedicated London and Kettering service will be introduced from December 2008, which will pave the way for the extension of London trains through to Corby if a new station is given the go-ahead

* A new station, East Midlands Parkway, will be serviced by London - Nottingham services and will get at least 2 trains per hour

* No changes to the current Liverpool - Norwich service, except a provision for the service to call at Liverpool South Parkway

* DfT has not included all off-peak services between Market Harborough and London in the specification. More popular peak time services will remain and will become faster at the 2008 timetable change. Bidders are free to propose running off-peak services

7. Smartcard Ticketing. In the East and West Midlands franchises, where operators will be responsible for stations, the franchisee will provide ITSO (Integrated Ticketing Smartcard Organisation) compliant ticketing by 2010. Where appropritate, franchisees will be required to accept Oyster smartcards by 2010. This will enable interoperability between different ticketing schemes nationally. There are a number of ITSO smartcard schemes currently under development in the UK. The winner of the New Cross Country franchise is required to accept interoperable smartcard ticketing where appropriate.

8. Fares: All bidders have been asked to comply with current fares regulation, where increases to regulated fares are restricted to an overall annual increase of RPI +1%. New franchisees will, as today, set their own unregulated fares.

9. Stations/Safety: In the East and West Midlands franchises, where operators will be responsible for stations, the franchisee will ensure that stations with a minimum of 80% of footfall will achieve Secure Stations Accreditation.

10. Performance: Each new franchisee will be contracted to deliver performance improvements over the duration of the franchise

11. Priced Options: A priced option means that bidders must submit detailed proposals which are then considered by DfT during bid evaluation. A list of the priced options bidders will consider are outlined in stakeholder briefing documents.

12. Stakeholder briefing documents are available on the DfT website, giving more detail of the content of each Invitation to Tender. The DfT website also contains more information on the Remapping, Expressions of Interest, the announcement of the list of Qualified Bidders and Consultation documents www.dft.gov.uk

13. For further details visit www.dft.gov.uk

Public Enquiries: 020 7944 8300
Department for Transport Website: http://www.dft.gov.uk

Railhub Archive ::: 2006-10-31 DfT-001


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