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2002-03-27 SRA-001
Strategic Rail Authority

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SRA starts process to facilitate new Greater Anglia franchise


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Strategic Rail Authority

SRA starts process to facilitate new Greater Anglia franchise
_______________________________________________________________


date
27 March 2002
source Strategic Rail Authority
type Press release



The Strategic Rail Authority today launched the process for pre-qualifying for
its new Greater Anglia franchise (announced on 19 December 2001) which
aims to combine the Anglia Railways and First Great Eastern franchises, and
the West Anglia section of the WAGN franchise.

The SRA is currently producing a detailed specification for the new franchise,
which will be issued to pre-qualified bidders, and will consult key stakeholders
to ensure their views are taken into account.

Under the timetable published today, a series of consultation meetings with
key regional passenger groups, local authorities and other regional
stakeholders will start from 29 April. In addition, the SRA is inviting parties to
pre-qualify for the Greater Anglia franchise, before the formal bidding process
begins in Summer 2002 of this year, with a view to letting the new franchise
by Summer 2003. The SRA intends to consult pre-qualified parties on the
scope of certain enhancement options for the franchise.

SRA Chairman Richard Bowker said:

"Franchise consolidation, where there is close geographical proximity and a
single London terminus, was a main theme of the SRA new franchise policy
launched in December. Given the capacity pressures on Liverpool Street's
approaches, having just one operator, as opposed to three, makes good
sense in operational and passenger service terms.

" We want to provide as much clarity as possible to bidders about what we
expect the Greate r Anglia franchise to deliver, and we want to ensure
stakeholders have the opportunity to contribute their views, which is why we
are starting a consultation process. The new Greater Anglia franchise needs
to provide benefits both for passengers who use local and regional services
and the many thousands of commuters who travel daily to the capital".

A seamless transfer to the new franchise will be facilitated by an agreement
reached today between the SRA and GB Railways to stabilise the financial
position of the existing Anglia Railways franchise following the protracted
losses suffered by the company since the Hatfield accident in October 2000.

Under the deal, the SRA has allocated £23.7 million of additional subsidy,
which includes an immediate payment of £3.2million to Anglia Railways until
March 2004 to ensure that its services continue to operate at current levels,
with a provision for the SRA to share in any upside should the company
perform better than forecast. In addition, the deal provides for the franchise to
be terminated early, on 6 months notice, to facilitate the creation of the
Greater Anglia franchise earlier than 2004.

Notes to Editors

1. GB Railways were awarded the Anglia Railways franchise for seven years
three months, commencing January 1997.
2. The other two franchises that are intended to be incorporated in Greater
Anglia are National Express Group (WAGN) and FirstGroup (Great Eastern).
Those franchises will continue to their natural expiry on 31 March 2004,
unless the successful bidder reaches a commercial agreement with the
incumbent.
3. Anglia Railways operates mainline train services between London,
Colchester, Ipswich and Norwich and local trains across Norfolk, Suffolk and
parts of Cambridgeshire.
4. Great Eastern operates predominantly commuter services form Ilford,
Romford, Southend, Chelmsford, Clacton and Ipswich areas to London.
5. WAGN serves the routes into London from Peterborough, Kings Lynn and
Cambridgeshire and from Hertford, Enfield and Chingford, the last three into
London Liverpool Street along with the Stansted Express Airport link.
Parties interested in the Greater Anglia franchise should write to Nick Newton,
SRA, 55 Victoria Street, London, SW1H 0EU, by Friday 19 April.


Railhub Archive ::: 2002-03-27 SRA-001





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