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Railhub Archive
2007-04-06 STG-001
Stagecoach Group

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Virgin and Stagecoach team up with GNER for East Coast Rail bid


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East Coast Main Line
Intercity East Coast
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Stagecoach Group

Virgin and Stagecoach team up with GNER for East Coast Rail bid
_______________________________________________________________


date
6 April 2007
source Stagecoach Group
type Press release



The Virgin Group of Companies and Stagecoach Group plc are pleased to announce today (6 April 2007) that their 50/50 joint venture, inter city - railways limited ("ICR"), has agreed terms for GNER to partner on the bid for the InterCity East Coast rail franchise.

Under terms agreed with the board of GNER Holdings Limited, GNER will acquire a 10% stake in the new franchise holding company at the time of signing a new franchise agreement if the ICR bid is successful. Virgin and Stagecoach will jointly retain the remaining 90% shareholding as part of the new commercial agreement between the parties. The bid vehicle itself remains the same as the one which pre-qualified for the franchise.

In a joint statement, Stagecoach Group Chief Executive Brian Souter and Virgin founder Sir Richard Branson said: "We now have an even stronger team developing our bid for what is one of the UK's flagship franchises and we look forward to working with the GNER team on our joint plans.

"The management capability within the GNER team, combined with the strong track-record of Stagecoach and Virgin in delivering high-quality rail services to passengers across the country, will allow us to submit an innovative and compelling bid.

"Virgin and Stagecoach have jointly bid for the ICEC franchise before and we understand the need to expand the capacity of the railway to improve customer service in the future. We look forward to building on the excellent progress made by GNER in managing the railway since privatisation".

Commenting on the agreement, Bob Mackenzie, Chairman of GNER Holdings, said: "GNER has always sought to provide excellent service and value for money, which is an ethos we share with our partners. This is a great opportunity to work with Virgin and Stagecoach to take performance on this flagship route to an even higher level. We are determined to work with stakeholders who rely on the East Coast franchise by meeting their aspirations for frequent, fast, accessible and good quality services in the future".

The agreement between Virgin Holdings Limited, Stagecoach Group plc and GNER Holdings Limited has been approved by the Department for Transport. Final bids for the ICEC franchise are due to be submitted on 6 June 2007 and the decision by government will be made in the late summer of 2007.

ENDS

For further information, please contact:

Stagecoach Group
Steve Stewart, Head of Media and Public Affairs
Tel: 01738 442111 or mobile: 07764 774680
email: steven.stewart@stagecoachgroup.com

Virgin Group
Will Whitehorn, Director, Virgin Group
Tel: 020 7229 4738 or mobile 07941 228844
email: will.whitehorn@virgin.co.uk

GNER
Alan Hyde, Head of Communications
Tel: 01904 523515 (direct line) or 07771 831642 (mobile) or 01904 523072 (GNER Press Office)
email: alan.hyde@gner.co.uk

Sea Containers
Lisa Barnard
Director of Communications

Sea Containers Ltd
Tel: 0207 805 5550 or 07887 823116 (mobile)
email: lisa.barnard@seacontainers.com

NOTES TO EDITORS

Stagecoach Group
Stagecoach Group is a leading international transportation group, with extensive bus and rail operations in the UK and North America. The Group's businesses operate around 12,000 vehicles and rolling stock, and employ around 27,000 people.
Stagecoach operates South West Trains, the UK's biggest commuter rail network, which runs nearly 1700 trains a day in the south-west of England out of London Waterloo. The Group also runs Island Line, the country’s smallest rail network.
The Department for Transport announced in September 2006 that Stagecoach had been selected to operate the new 10-year South Western franchise, which combines South West Trains and Island Line and started in February 2007.
Stagecoach Group is shortlisted for the East Midlands rail franchise, which runs from November 2007.
Stagecoach operates the Supertram network in Sheffield on a 27-year concession running until 2024.
Stagecoach Group has been selected by Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Executive (GMPTE) as its preferred bidder for a combined contract to operate and maintain the 37km Manchester Metrolink tram system and the associated infrastructure. The contract will run for a 10-year term and is expected to commence within the next three months.

The Virgin Group of Companies
The Virgin Group of Companies was established by Sir Richard Branson in 1970 and now encompasses more than 200 companies around the world, operating in sectors ranging from transportation to financial services, mobile telephony, entertainment and retail. Virgin Group’s total annual worldwide sales will reach £11 billion in 2007.
Virgin Rail Group

Stagecoach and Virgin are partners at Virgin Rail Group (VRG), which operates the CrossCountry and West Coast inter-city rail franchises. Both franchises commenced in 1997.
Virgin Trains is the brand name of VRG, which is owned 51 percent by Virgin Group and 49 percent by Stagecoach.
VRG and the DfT agreed new commercial terms for the West Coast franchise in December 2006. The agreement put the franchise on new commercial terms that will run through to March 2012. The franchise had been operated on a management contract since July 2002 following the collapse of Railtrack and changes to the infrastructure upgrade to the West Coast main line, which prevented VRG from operating 140mph trains.
VRG is bidding to win the New Cross Country franchise, which is due to start in November 2007.

GNER
GNER runs fast, frequent passenger rail services between London King's Cross, the East Midlands, Yorkshire and Humberside, the North East of England and Scotland, carrying 17.4 million passengers a year.
Since starting in 1996, the company now runs 24% more services and has attracted 43% extra passengers.
GNER is currently refurbishing its 13-strong diesel High Speed Train fleet and installing new, more reliable, fuel-efficient engines. In May this year GNER will introduce 12 extra services between Leeds and London, creating a half-hourly frequency every weekday and delivering 1.6 million extra seats a year on this busy route.

InterCity East Coast
InterCity East Coast is one of Britain’s busiest long distance rail routes, which links London with several cities in both England and Scotland, including Edinburgh. Short-listed bidders will be asked to bid against a specification based on a consultation process undertaken by the DfT, which is proposing that current services are maintained and that the Leeds half hourly service will continue.


Railhub Archive ::: 2007-04-06 STG-001





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