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2004-08-20 SRA-001
Strategic Rail Authority

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New Scottish passenger rail franchise agreement signed


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Strategic Rail Authority

New Scottish passenger rail franchise agreement signed
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related documents


2004-06-11 FirstGroup plc Announced as Preferred Bidder for New Scottish Passenger Rail Franchise (Strategic Rail Authority)

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date
20 August 2004
source Strategic Rail Authority
type Press release



The new Scottish passenger rail franchise has been signed. The SRA's
statement to the London Stock Exchange is below.

The Strategic Rail Authority (SRA) today announced that it has signed, on
behalf of the Scottish Executive, a franchise agreement with FirstGroup plc to
operate the Scottish Passenger Rail Franchise. FirstGroup was confirmed as
Preferred Bidder on 11 June 2004.

The new seven-year franchise will start operating from 02:00 hours on
Sunday 17 October 2004. Total subsidy for the seven year period will
be 1.9 billion at current prices.

It is consistent with the SRA's franchise policy, which sets out clearer
requirements for the service to be delivered to passengers, and is in
accordance with the Scottish Executive's specification.

FirstGroup will invest in a 40m package of measures to upgrade and
improve facilities at stations across Scotland. This will include
additional Customer Information Systems and CCTV facilities, help
points and public address systems.

FirstGroup has plans to make significant investment in four major
stations: Stirling, Aberdeen, Glasgow Queen Street and Edinburgh
Haymarket.

The franchise retains existing levels of rail services and includes
contractualised, specified targets for year-on-year reductions in
cancellations and improved punctuality. A financial penalty/incentive
regime will ensure quality of station and train facilities over the whole of
the franchise.

SRA Chairman Richard Bowker said:
"Now the SRA has, on behalf of the Scottish Executive, signed a new
franchise with FirstGroup, there is in place an excellent set of future benefits
for Scotland's rail passengers. These are the direct result of a hard fought
franchise competition against a clear specification agreed with the Executive."
"The new franchise complements other important developments affecting
Scotland's railway such as the introduction of new and longer rolling stock and
longer platforms, and sets a new standard for the delivery of rail services in
Scotland. Throughout this whole process the excellent working partnership
arrangement between ourselves and the Executive was a major contributor to
the overall success in securing the deal."

Scottish Transport Minister Nicol Stephen said:
"Passengers can expect more reliable and customer-friendly train services.
There will be significant investment in trains, new rail lines and better stations.
The deal creates a solid foundation for major improvements to Scotland's rail
network."

Notes to Editors
1. In the case of this franchise the SRA acted as procurement agent on
the Scottish Executive's behalf.
2. This franchise has been awarded in accordance with the Directions
and Guidance given to the SRA by Scottish Ministers in July 2002.
3. On 15th July 2004 the Secretary of State for Transport announced a
White Paper, which sets o ut the blueprint for the future of Britain's
railways. More information on this can be found on the Department for
Transport website at www.dft.gov.uk.
4. On 16th June the Scottish Transport Minister announced a White
Paper outlining proposals to improve transport in Scotland and create a
new transport agency for Scotland.
5. The franchise will run for seven years with specified performance
targets providing for a 2% per year improvement in performance. A
possible three year extension could be available.
6. The existing franchise held by National Express Group plc expires on
17 October 2004.
7. This new franchise covers all existing rail services that start and end in
Scotland and cross-border sleeper services.


Railhub Archive ::: 2004-08-20 SRA-001





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