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Railhub Archive
2003-11-04 SRA-001
Strategic Rail Authority


Preferred bidder announced for new Thames Trains franchise

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Go-Ahead Group
Great Western Link

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Strategic Rail Authority

Preferred bidder announced for new Thames Trains franchise

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4 November 2003
source Strategic Rail Authority
type Press release

SRA today announced that it has selected FirstGroup as the preferred bidder
for the new Thames Trains franchise. The existing franchise, awarded in
September 1996, expires on 31 March 2004. The new franchise will run from
1 April 2004 to 31 March 2006.

The announcement follows extensive discussions between the Authority and
the two parties invited to bid for the franchise (incumbent operator Go -Ahead
Group, and FirstGroup).

The SRA has reduced the bids down to two options from FirstGroup and
expects to be able to confirm, by December, which of these options will be
selected following further discussions.

Notes to Editors

1. The SRA has been in discussions with Go-Ahead Group regarding a
two-year extension to its current franchise since Summer 2002. In
September 2002 it separately received an unsolicited proposition from
FirstGroup to combine Thames services with Great Western services
from 2004.
2. The SRA invited FirstGroup and Go-Ahead Group to submit proposals
for a two year franchise on 10 April 2003, ha ving received a Section 26
direction from the Secretary of State for Transport, enabling
negotiations to start.
3. Plans for a Greater Western franchise, announced by the SRA on 6
November 2002 following extensive local consultation, will combine the
existing Great Western, Thames Trains and Wessex Trains franchises
into one operation. It is scheduled to commence in early 2006,
following a competition to select a franchisee.
4. Thames Trains operates services throughout the Thames Valley, the
Kennet Valley, the Cotswolds, up to Stratford-upon-Avon, and on the
North Downs line between Reading and Gatwick Airport.

Railhub Archive ::: 2003-11-04 SRA-001


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