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2001-04-02 SRA-003
Strategic Rail Authority

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East Coast Main Line - Joint Venture


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Strategic Rail Authority

East Coast Main Line - Joint Venture
_______________________________________________________________


date
2 April 2001
source Strategic Rail Authority
type Press release



East Coast Main Line

The Strategic Rail Authority today announced that it would establish a Joint
Venture to take forward the upgrade of the East Coast Main Line from London
to Yorkshire, North East England and Scotland. The SRA will lead the Joint
Venture, whose members are expected also to include a project management
company, the future train operator, Railtrack and external investors. The Joint
Venture is consistent with the objectives set out in the SRA's recently
published Strategic Agenda, and will remove the responsibility of managing
the East Coast Main Line upgrade and the burden of funding its costs from
Railtrack. This fundamental change to the financing of the upgrade, compared
with the original franchise proposition, means that both shortlisted
counterparties will need to review their original proposals and indicate how
they could participate in the Joint Venture. (The Counterparties are GNER
Holdings and Virgin Stagecoach.) Subject to discussion with the parties, the
SRA will ask for their response by 17th April. Following consideration and
consultation with Ministers, the SRA will then announce the preferred bidder
for the East Coast franchise.

SRA Chief Executive Mike Grant said:

This major upgrade project is designed to provide extra capacity, reduce
journey times and increase reliability on the route. It requires a public/private
partnership to provide the necessary resources. As we said in our Strategic
Agenda, 'Railtrack cannot do it all, and the SRA needs to work with Railtrack
and others to line up the resources of management as well as finance,
needed to supply a safer, better and bigger system.

The East Coast Main Line upgrade will make a significant contribution to the
SRA's growth targets of 50% in passenger kilometres and 80% in freight
tonne-kilometres by 2011 . We think it appropriate, in view of the introduction
of a Joint Venture structure, to invite the shortlisted bidders to review their
proposals, but today's announcement ensures that the East Coast Main Line
upgrade can be progressed to deliver increased capacity and alleviation of
bottlenecks on the route .

The upgrade scheme follows on from Phase 1, the upgrade of Leeds station
and related works. It is currently being implemented and can be summarised
as follows :

Phase 2
(completed by 2006)
Remodelling of Peterborough Station
New platform at London
Kings Cross.
Development of alternative
freight lines to provide more
capacity
- between Peterborough &
Doncaster via Lincoln
- Doncaster - York
- Northallerton (North
Yorkshire)
- Leamside Line reopening
(Tyne & Wear)
- Additional track capacity,
with freight loops, between
Newcastle and Edinburgh.
Phase 3

(2008)
Hitchin flyover to relieve bottleneck, new flyover
at(2008) Newark to replace flat crossing.
Remodelling and flyover at Doncaster, and
various power and junction upgrades.

Proposed Phase 4
(2010)
Additional viaduct at Welwyn to relieve
bottleneck. Completing the four tracking
between Hitchin and Peterborough. Further
power upgrades.

Note to Editors

1. The sSRA announced in January 2001 that it was inviting consultants
to work on a detailed feasibility study into a High Speed Line concept.
Expressions of interest have been received for this work but it should
be noted that this is a completely separate p roject to the East Coast
Main Line upgrade joint venture.

Important Notice
This news release is issued by the Strategic Rail Authority 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 i nform themselves about and observe any such
restrictions.

KPMG Corporate Finance is acting for the Strategic Rail Authority and will not
regard any other person as its client in relation to passenger railway
franchising or be responsible to anyone other than the Strategic Rail Authority
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 ::: 2001-04-02 SRA-003





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