Strategic Rail Authority
Next stage in IKF franchising process
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Integrated Kent franchise
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Next stage in IKF franchising process
type Press release
The Government has started the next stage in letting the new Integrated Kent
Franchise (IKF) by inviting the four pre-qualified applicants to submit detailed
bids. Details of changes to services resulting from the introduction of new high
speed services using the Channel Tunnel Rail Link (CTRL) in 2009 have also
been confirmed, with the publication of a Stakeholder Briefing Document.
The IKF will include routes on the national rail network currently operated by
South Eastern Trains throughout Kent, parts of East Sussex and South East
London. It will also include new high speed services from St Pancras making
use of the CTRL, with routes confirmed today as via Stratford to Ebbsfleet, to
the Medway towns, and on to Ashford, Ramsgate and East Kent. These
services will help support new housing and economic opportunities in the
Thames Gateway Growth Area.
The Strategic Rail Authority (SRA) today issued bidders with a formal
Invitation to Tender, specifying the requirements of the new franchise, which
will operate from December 2005. The franchise will be for a term of eight
years, the last two dependent on the franchisee's performance meeting
specified contractual commitments. Working closely with the Department for
Transport, the SRA has ensured that the franchise specification is consistent
with the Government's recent White Paper on The Future of Rail.
The four parties being invited to bid for the new franchise are South Eastern
Railways Ltd (a joint venture between DSB International and Stagecoach
Group), First Kent Integrated Railways Ltd (FirstGroup plc); Great South
Eastern Railway Limited (a joint venture between GNER Holdings and MTR
Corporation) and London & South Eastern Railway Ltd (a joint venture
between Go-Ahead Group and Keolis). The SRA expects to announce a
Preferred Bidder by early Autumn.
The Stakeholder Briefing Document provides a summary of the outcome of
the extensive consultation on the proposed service specification undertaken
during 2004. A number of revisions to the proposed services have been made
to take into account the primary themes emerging from the consultation
Transport Secretary, Alistair Darling, said:
"Passengers will benefit from new opportunities to travel with improvements to
the speed, reliability and overall capacity of the network. There will be a 10%
increase in the number of services arriving in London in the morning peak
once the new service pattern is introduced."
"The CTRL domestic services will operate on both domestic railway tracks
and the new high speed channel tunnel rail link track where they will reach
speeds of 140 mph. Journeys from Ashford to central London will be reduced
by 40 minutes each way."
"This will be the flagship transport scheme to deliver people to and from the
Olympic Games should the UK bid be successful. It will move people from
Kings Cross to Stratford in under eight minutes. It will bring transport benefits
to the Thames Gateway growth area."
SRA Managing Director for Operations, Nicola Shaw, said:
"The new franchise will deliver the benefits of high-speed services to the
widest possible number of people. It will provide improvements to journey
times, along with better punctuality and service levels designed to better
balance supply with demand. We look forward to the competitive bid process."
Notes to Editors
1. The franchise specification takes into account feedback from the
stakeholder consultations held between February and April 2004, and
reflects detailed timetable development work undertaken since then.
2. The incumbent operator is South Eastern Trains (SET), a subsidiary of
the SRA. Following the termination of the Connex South Eastern
franchise on the 9 November 2003, SET has run services across the
3. On 27 October 2004, Alistair Darling announced Hitachi as the
Preferred Manufacturer to build new high speed trains to operate on
the IKF. The order is expected to be for about thirty (6-carriage) trains
to be introduced in 2009.
4. The stations that will be served by high speed CTRL domestic services
are: Ramsgate, Minster, Sturry, Canterbury West, Wye, Folkestone
Central, Folkestone West, Sandling, Ashford International, Broadstairs,
Margate, Birchington on Sea, Herne Bay, Whitstable, Faversham,
Sittingbourne, Rainham, Gillingham, Chatham, Rochester, Strood,
Higham, Gravesend, Ebbsfleet, Stratford International, St Pancras, and
Dover Priory (provisional).
Railhub Archive ::: 2005-01-18 SRA-001