Department for Transport
New rail franchise delivers big increase in capacity between major cities
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New rail franchise delivers big increase in capacity between major cities
type Press release
note DEPARTMENT FOR TRANSPORT News Release (079) issued by The Government News Network on 10 July 2007
An extra 40 carriages will run on the New Cross Country network following the award of the franchise to Arriva plc.
The additional coaches, and refurbishment of others, will provide 3000 more seats a day for passengers on the busiest parts of the network, which extends across Britain from Penzance to Aberdeen, from Cardiff to Stansted Aiport and from Manchester to Bournemouth.
Arriva plc has been awarded the contract to run the franchise from 11th November 2007 for eight years and four months. The DfT will pay it a subsidy of £1.056bn.
The new franchise combines most of the existing Cross Country franchise currently operated by Virgin Cross Country and some services currently operated by Central Trains.
Other benefits for passengers include:
* A new web-based ticketing system will be introduced from December 2009 which will allow customers to reserve seats up to 10 minutes before their train leaves, print tickets at home, receive and display tickets on mobile phones and receive customised journey information packs. The franchise will also accept smartcard tickets issued by other train companies;
* More trains to/from Stansted in the evening by extending some late Birmingham to Cambridge services to the airport
* Refurbished Class 170 coaches on Birmingham to Stansted and Cardiff to Nottingham services, including extra seats, and first class on all trains;
* Up to 25% more luggage storage space due to an internal refit of Voyager trains;
* Catering provided to customers at their seats, including hot meals in first class on weekdays;
* Wi-Fi access, which will be free in first class;
* More accessible staff on trains with at least three passing through long-distance trains to assist passengers, provide information and manage seat reservations;
* Extra help for passengers who need to change trains, especially at Birmingham New Street. Staff will be equipped with technology to give up to the minute information on train times and connections. There will be an information campaign to advise passengers of other stations where they can change more easily than at Birmingham New Street.
* Extra staff employed to help passengers during major timetable changes in December 2008.
Rail Minister Tom Harris said: "We have secured an excellent deal with Arriva. Not only are they delivering an even bigger increase in capacity than we asked for, they are doing it a year earlier than expected. I am especially pleased that the new franchisee will connect some of our biggest cities even more effectively. This will benefit both business and leisure travellers"
The Government will continue to limit annual rises of regulated fares in line with national policy, which is currently RPI+1%.
As with all franchises, unregulated fares will be the responsibility of the operator. Arriva have indicated that they may wish to raise unregulated fares by an average of 3.4% above inflation each year.
Notes to Editors
1. The New Cross Country franchise will consist of the following services:
* The existing Cross Country Trains franchise currently operated by Virgin Rail Group, apart from services between Birmingham and Scotland and Manchester and Scotland which will transfer to West Coast Trains Ltd (operated by Virgin Rail Group) in November 2007.
* Birmingham-Scotland: through services from south of Birmingham to Scotland on the West Coast mainline will continue to operate for four weeks as a joint operation between New Cross Country and West Coast Trains. In December 2007, the timetable will be re-structured to enable of Birmingham to Scotland services on the West Coast mainline to be operated as a self contained part of the West Coast Trains franchise. NCC services from south of Birmingham which would previously have used the West Coast mainline will generally operate to/from Manchester or to/from Scotland via the East Coast.
* Manchester - Scotland: these services will be operated by West Coast Trains for four weeks until December 2007 when they will cease. Trans-Pennine Express (TPE) will then restructure its services between Manchester Airport and Cumbria to include through services to Scotland from this time
* Services operated by Central Trains (currently operated by National Express Group) on the following routes: Cardiff - Birmingham - Nottingham; Birmingham - Nottingham (local service); Birmingham - Leicester - Peterborough - Cambrige - Stansted Airport; Birmngham - Leicester (local service).
2. Timetable - As consulted on by DfT, in December 2008, the timetable for the long distance services of the franchise will be further re-structured into four simplified service groups with a regular hourly timetable pattern. These are: Plymouth - Edinburgh via Leeds; Manchester - Bristol; Manchester - Bournemouth; Reading - Newcastle via Doncaster. Further details are available in the Stakeholder Briefing Document
3. Capacity - Bidders were asked to submit two proposals, one of which required delivery of a minimum of approximately 30% increase in capacity measured in terms of number of seats provided on the central, most congested section of the franchise. Arriva will deliver 35% exta capacity - nearly 3000 seats on key routes - by June 2009 with most of the extra seats being provided by December 2008.
4. Services - Arriva will extend certain services to retain the following through journey opportunities:
* 1 x Edinburgh - Reading return service (Monday - Saturday and Summer Sundays);
* 1 x Newcastle - Bournemouth return service (Monday - Saturday);
* 1 x Penzance - Manchester service (Monday - Saturday);
* 1 x Manchester - Plymouth service (Monday - Saturday);
* There will also be increased accessibility to Stansted Airport by running more trains later in the evening on weekdays (three extra westbound services from Cambridge to Birmingham will start from Stansted and four extra eastbound services from Birmingham to Cambridge will continue to Stansted).
* On weekdays, there will be an earlier through service from Cardiff to Birmingham and one later through service in each direction between Cardiff and Nottingham. There will also be one through service from Nottingham to Bournemouth.
5. Rolling Stock - Five additional refurbished High Speed Train sets of eight carriages each will be leased for use on the New Cross Country franchise. The need maintenance cover means that four of these will be in use at any one time. Modification of existing Voyager trains will add 14 seats to each four-car set and 16 seats to each five-car set. Arriva has informed us that they plan to remove the on board shop and one toilet from each set to provide extra seats and luggage space for passengers.
6. Performance - Arriva is committed to a 25% reduction in delay minutes attributed to the TOC by the end of the franchise
7. Delay/Repay compensation arrangements - As with the East and West Midlands franchises, a single compensation policy for all passengers will be introduced. With improving Passenger's Charter performance in punctuality and reliability the current discount system means that an increasing number of passengers receive no compensation for delays. Therefore discounts in renewal for season tickets valid between one month and one year in compensation for poor punctuality and reliability will be replaced by compensation based on delays to individual journeys, known as Delay/Repay. Under the new system, all passengers will be entitled to claim compensation for all delays, whatever their cause.
* 50% of the price paid for a single-leg journey delayed by between 30 and 59 minutes;
* 100% of the price paid for a single-leg journey delayed by between 60 and 119 minutes; and
* 100% of the price paid for a return journey delayed by more than 119 minutes.
* The changes will also start to standardise disparate compensation arrangements for single, return and weekly season ticket holders on different train operators.
8. The award of the new franchise was announced to the London Stock Exchange at 7am today. The Net Present Value of the subsidy is £1.056bn. The subsidy profile is:
Year 1 2 3 4 5
Year ending 31st Notes 31-3-08 31-3-09 31-3-10 31-3-11 31-3-12
March All the figures are in £'000
Franchise payments 1 98,320 245,092 222,156 190,168 156,152
Nominal franchise 2 98,320 251,796 234,380 206,143 173,960
PV of nominal 3 97,177 238,538 208,890 172,845 137,223
Year 6 7 8 9 Total
Year ending 31st Notes 31-3-13 31-3-14 31-3-15 31-3-16 March
All the figures are in £'000
Franchise payments 1 113,911 77,691 44,346 5,649 1,153,486
Nominal franchise 2 130,515 91,763 54,367 8,144 1,249,389
PV of nominal 3 96,856 64,065 35,709 5,032 1,056,335
1 Franchise Payments are taken directly from the Franchise Agreement and represent the sum of the fixed, RPI and AEI related payment elements in 2007/08 prices.
2 Nominal Franchise Payments are determined by applying DfT's forecast of RPI and AEI to the Franchise Payments in the Franchise Agreement.
3 The Present Value (PV) of Nominal Franchise Payments are calculated using HM Treasury's real discount rate (3.5%) adjusted for inflation.
9. Further details from the franchise competition are available on the DfT website http://www.dft.gsi.gov.uk
Public Enquiries: 020 7944 8300
Railhub Archive ::: 2007-07-10 DfT-001