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2001-02-08 SRA-001
Strategic Rail Authority

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New trains for Yorkshire commuters: roll over terms agreed for Northern Spirit and MerseyRail franchises


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Strategic Rail Authority

New trains for Yorkshire commuters: roll over terms agreed for Northern Spirit and MerseyRail franchises
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2002-01-31 Merseytravel to assume responsibility for region's local train network (Strategic Rail Authority)

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date
8 February 2001
source Strategic Rail Authority
type Press release



Roll over terms agreed for Northern Spirit and MerseyRail franchises

18 additional vehicles are to be procured by Northern Spirit, under an
agreement between the Strategic Rail Authority, West Yorkshire PTE and
South Yorkshire PTE, to increase capacity on routes run by the Northern
Spirit franchise in West and South Yorkshire. The additional vehicles will
come on stream at the earliest practicable opportunity.

Passengers on Merseyrail Electrics will benefit from an additional three
coaches for morning peak services in the autumn and a further three coaches
in the summer of 2002.

At the same time, the SRA, in consultation with the local PTEs, has reached
agreement with Arriva plc for the Northern Spirit and Merseyrail Electrics
franchises to be extended by up to two years with the option to terminate
either franchise at an earlier date so that they can be transferred to new
franchises negotiated competitively under the SRA's franchise replacement
programme.

Arriva acquired the franchises in February 2000 as part of the acquisition of
MTL Services plc. They were loss making, but Arriva agreed to operate them
on existing terms until 18 February 2001. The new agreements with Arriva
take effect from that date. Arriva has committed to maintain train services at
the levels in the 2000/01 timetables and is aiming to improve performance
and customer service. It has also agreed to restructure the Northern Spirit
franchise so that it can be sub-divided between the TransPennine and
Northern franchises. Operating subsidies contributed by the SRA and the
local PTEs in West Yorkshire, South Yorkshire, Greater Manchester, Tyne &
Wear and Merseyside have been set at levels intended to reflect the costs,
responsibilities and risks involved in operating the services and carrying out
the restructuring of Northern Spirit.

Notes to Editors

1. Last year, the shadow SRA announced plans for a new Transpennine
Express franchise linking the major population centres and transport hubs and
a new Northern franchise to provide a coherent network of local services
throughout the North of England. These are to be created by combining
services currently run by Northern Spirit and First North Western. A shortlist
for the Transpennine Express franchise was announced in December. The
Northern franchise will be offered later this year. It will focus strongly on the
SRA working with five PTEs - Nexus, West Yorkshire, South Yorkshire,
Greater Manchester and Merseytravel and its content will be developed in
consultation with them.

2. The SRA is in discussion with Merseytravel PTE on the future of the
Merseyrail Electrics franchise with a view to providing greater local control
over a replacement franchise.

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 o f 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
restrictions.

KPMG Corporate Finance is acting for the Franchising Director and will not
regard any other person as its client in relation to passenger railway
franchising or be responsible to anyone other than the Franchising Director for
providing the protections afforded to clients of KPMG Corporate Finance nor
for advising any other person on the contents of this news release or any
matter referred to in it.


Railhub Archive ::: 2001-02-08 SRA-001





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