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Railhub Archive
1999-12-22 SRA-002
Shadow Strategic Rail Authority


Building a better railway: first companies prequalify for franchise replacement

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Shadow Strategic Rail Authority

Building a better railway: first companies prequalify for franchise replacement

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22 December 1999
source Shadow Strategic Rail Authority
type Press release

The Shadow Strategic Rail Authority today announced the names of those
companies which have prequalified for the first phase of franchise

The first three franchises, for which proposals had been invited on 24th
November, were:
Great North Eastern Railway
Chiltern Railways
Connex South Central

In each case, the present franchise operator has been prequalified. Other
established franchise operators have also been selected, as well as one new
company - Arriva - which is an established bus operator, but new to
passenger rail franchising.

The companies now have 60 days to prepare detailed proposals for
consideration by the SSRA, which will then select those to go forward for final
negotiations. It is expected that the replacement franchises will be determined
in the spring and become effective in the second half of the year.

Companies which have pre-qualified are:
GNER: Sea Containers (owners of Great North Eastern Railway)
Virgin Rail Group in conjunction with Stagecoach
Chiltern: M40 Trains (subsidiary of Laing Group - owners of Chiltern
Go-Ahead (franchisee of Thames Trains)
Connex South Central: Connex Rail (subsidiary of Vivendi SA)
GoVia (franchisee of Thameslink)
Stagecoach (franchisee for neighbouring South West Trains franchise)

Franchising Director and SSRA Chief Executive, Mike Grant, said:
"I am pleased at the level of interest amongst transport operators which has
allowed us to pre-qualify such an impressive group of companies. Strong
competition for the replacement franchises will drive up the quality of
proposals with benefits for passengers and the taxpayer."

"In the case of the Virgin and Stagecoach interest in GNER, if they are to
progress to the next stage, they will need to satisfy me that they have the
resources to manage this additional franchise, that they can deliver the
required performance standards and that it is in the interests of passengers
that the two major London to Scotland franchises should be in the hands of a
single franchisee.

"Interest in the neighbouring Connex South Central franchise from GoVia and
South West Trains offers the opportunity, in both cases, for a significant
adjustment in franchise geography. These will be evaluated as alternatives to
replacement of the existing franchise" .

Note to Editors

The SSRA announced the launch of its franchise replacement programme on
24 November, starting with the Chiltern, Connex South Central and Great
North Eastern franchises. A further statement about the Authority 's approach
for the second round of replacement was issued on 9 December.

Important Notice
This news release is issued by the Franchising Director and its contents have
been approved for the purposes of section 57 of the Financial Services Act
1986 by KPMG Corporate Finance.

KPMG Corporate Finance is a division of KPMG, which is authorised to carry
on investment business by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England
and Wales. This news release has been prepared for general information
purposes only and is not intended to form the basis of any investment
decision or constitute an offer or invitation to bid for any passenger rail
franchise or to acquire shares in a train operating company. Neither this news
release nor any copy of it should be taken into or distributed in Canada,
France, Japan or the United States except in accordance with an applicable
exemption. The distribution of this news release in other jurisdictions may be
restricted by law and therefore persons into whose possession this news
release comes should inform themselves about and observe any such restriction.

Railhub Archive ::: 1999-12-22 SRA-002


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