The Department for Transport has decided to abandon the franchising system.
The future franchise on this page had been planned but is not now expected to be awarded.
Replacement contracts of a new type may be announced later on.
From 20 September 2020 until some time in 2022 Emergency Recovery Measures Agreements are in force, which guarantee an income to operators and remove commercial risk.
Replacement for the Southeastern franchise. Invitation to tender had been due April 2017 and contract award February 2018. However, the existing franchise was extended on 6 December 2016 by six reporting periods (24 weeks) to December 2018 (one further period of four weeks is possible).
The invitation to tender date was simultaneously postponed to September 2017, with the contract award now due in August 2018.
Four shortlisted bidders were announced on 22 June 2017. They were South Eastern Holdings Ltd (Abellio Transport Group Ltd, East Japan Railway Company and Mitsui & Co Ltd); London and South East Passenger Rail Services Ltd (Govia Ltd); Stagecoach South Eastern Trains Ltd (Stagecoach Group plc) and Trenitalia UK Ltd (Trenitalia SpA).
On 10 August 2017, Trenitalia announced that it was withdrawing from the contest.
On 10 April 2019 the DfT announced that the bid involving Stagecoach had been disqualified from the shortlist for lodging a ‘non-compliant’ proposal in relation to pension provision. (See Railnews report 10 April 2019.)
The previous contract has now been extended to 2019, but the date was then changed again on 21 December 2018 from 1 April 2019 to 23 June, with a further postponement on 10 April 2019 to 10 November 2019, with an option to extend the agreement again to April 2020.
This option was exercised by the DfT on 7 August 2019, and the current South Eastern competition was cancelled. The start date of the replacement franchise must therefore be considered approximate.
1 April 2020
(bidding in progress)
Commuter and outer suburban services between London (Blackfriars/Cannon Street/Charing Cross/London Bridge/St Pancras International/Victorial), Dover, Folkestone, Maidstone/Canterbury/Ashford and branches. Including High Speed services (225km/h) from St Pancras to Ebbsfleet, Ashford, Faversham, Ramsgate, Dover and Maidstone West.