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Railhub Archive
2006-06-08 DfT-003
Department for Transport


Consultations launched for three new rail franchises

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Department for Transport

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Department for Transport

Consultations launched for three new rail franchises

8 Jun 2006 00:00
source Department for Transport
type Press release

The Department for Transport today launched consultations on the specifications for the new East Midlands, West Midlands and New Cross Country franchises.

The consultations seek views on proposals for the minimum levels of service that future operators must deliver. The three new franchises will start operating on 11th November 2007.

Proposals for the three new franchises will address crowding, with additional trains operated in each of the franchise areas.

The consultations mean that new operators will run around an extra 40 daily services on the new West Midlands franchise and around 20 more daily services in the new East Midlands franchise. New Cross Country services will be extended to more stations, including Nottingham, Leicester, Peterborough and Stansted Airport.

The proposals would require bidders to support further growth by increasing capacity. They will be expected to explore extra services and operate longer trains on the busiest routes.

New franchise contracts will set targets for year on year performance improvement. The modernisation of the West Coast Main Line will also allow more and faster journeys on the New Cross Country and West Midlands franchises.

In the East and West Midlands franchises, where the operators will be responsible for stations, the busiest stations will achieve secure stations accreditation.

Derek Twigg, Rail Minister said:

"These consultations are important in making sure these new franchises deliver improvements for rail passengers.

"We want to build on recent performance improvements and encourage passenger numbers to grow still further. We want to increase capacity on busy routes, run more services, reduce journey times and capitalise on our major investment in the West Coast Main Line."

Responses are invited by 07 August 2006. They will inform the Invitation to Tender, which will be given to pre-qualified bidders in Autumn 2006. The closing dates for receipt of bids is February 2007 and the winner announced in Summer 2007.

Notes to Editors

1. Consultation documents are available on the DfT website at

2. On the New Cross Country franchise, new hourly services between Manchester and Bristol are proposed, as well as faster journeys between Manchester and Birmingham.

* A new timetable that will allow a substantial increase in capacity on crowded trains

* The New Cross Country map will not include the current services from Reading to Brighton via Gatwick Airport. From December 2006 there will be two Greater Western trains per hour between Gatwick and Reading where passengers will be able to connect into the New Cross Country services.

* DfT is in discussions with Virgin Rail Group about the possibility that the services between Birmingham and Scotland are operated by West Coast Trains. It is hoped there will be the same number of services as today but the timetable will be improved.

* Today's service level will be maintained between Birmingham and Penzance.

3. In the West Midlands franchise, there will be a new hourly service between Birmingham and Manchester and more frequent services between Birmingham and Northampton. Proposals also include new, all day, direct services between Trent Valley stations and London and it may be possible, in future, to extend these services to Liverpool.

4. In the East Midlands franchise, DfT is proposing a new through service between Nottingham and Leeds and at least 2 trains per hour to London from the new station at East Midlands Parkway. It is also expected that the existing service between Liverpool and Birmingham will call at Liverpool South Parkway.

5. It was announced on 18 October 2005 that three new franchises would replace the four existing franchises of Central Trains, Silverlink, Cross Country and Midland Mainline.

6. Expressions of Interest have been invited for the three franchises. Details, including advertisements, Prior Information Notices and guidance on railway franchising procurement processes can also be found on the DfT website

7. For further information please visit

Railhub Archive ::: 2006-06-08 DfT-003


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