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Railhub Archive
2013-03-26 DfT-002
Department for Transport


Rail franchising

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Department for Transport

Rail franchising

26 March 2013
source Department for Transport
type Written statement

Railway plan puts new focus on passengers

(Patrick McLoughlin) This morning I have announced to the stock market our long-term plans for rail franchising. This plan is designed to drive improvements to rail services, deliver on major infrastructure projects, and put passengers at the heart of a revitalised rail franchising system.

In addition to publishing a detailed timetable for all rail franchises over the next 8 years, I am announcing the immediate start of the competition for the East Coast franchise, currently directly operated, with the expectation the new franchisee will carry its first passengers by February 2015.

The new programme will provide long-term certainty to the market and support the delivery of the government’s £9.4 billion rail investment strategy for 2014 to 2019. The future competitions will also place passengers in the driving seat by ensuring that their views and satisfaction levels are taken into account when deciding which companies run our railway services.

In rolling out the programme the Department for Transport will work closely with the industry to negotiate further new services and more capacity in all franchising contracts while delivering the best deal for both passengers and tax payers.

Delivering on Brown review recommendations, the new programme will provide a more sustainable schedule for rail franchising by delivering no more than 3 to 4 competitions per year, and staggering the 2 principal Intercity franchises, West Coast and East Coast, so they will not be let at the same point in the economic cycle.

In order to roll out the programme and stagger future competitions, it will be necessary to exercise a number of contractual extensions with current operators and to negotiate a series of direct awards with current operators. During these discussions the department will look to negotiate further passenger benefits, which will ensure the best deal for tax payers. As a result, I will later today be serving notice on First Capital Connect and Southeastern to call 7 period extensions available in their contracts.

The new franchise programme is set out below.

In my statement of 31 January I announced that the Thameslink, Southern and Great Northern would be a management style contract due to the level of investment and change on the route. For Great Western, our plan is to put to market a competed management contract in 2016. We will further develop this proposition in the light of experience with the Thameslink competition, which has similar infrastructure challenges, and will give consideration to the capacity in the market closer to the date.

In order to oversee this ambitious programme the government is also establishing the Franchise Advisory Panel, headed by Richard Brown, which will provide independent advice to support the department’s work on rail franchising.

In addition, following an industry consultation, I will today, publish a revised policy statement under section 26 of the Railways Act. This has been updated to reflect current franchising policy and completes a Brown review recommendation.

All the relevant documents will be published on the Department for Transport website. Copies will be made available in the libraries of the House.

The new franchise programme

[[layout revised for archive purposes]]

Franchise (operator)
Owning group
Current franchise expiry date
Duration of franchise extension and/or direct award
Start date of new franchise

Essex Thameside (c2c)
National Express
May 13
16 months
Sep 14

Thameslink (First Capital Connect) and Southern
(Merge to become Thameslink, Southern and
Great Northern)
FirstGroup Govia
Sep 13 (FCC) and Jul 15 (Southern)
12 months (FCC) and n/a (Southern)
Sep 14 (FCC) and July 15 (Southern)

East Coast
Directly Operated Railways
Feb 15

Apr 14
22 months
Feb 16

TransPennine (TransPennine Express)
Apr 15
10 months
Feb 16

Great Western (First GreatWestern)
Oct 13
33 months
July 16

Greater Anglia
Jul 14
27 months
Oct 16

InterCity West Coast (Virgin Trains)
Nov 14
29 months
April 17

London Midland
Sep 15
21 months
June 17

East Midlands (East Midlands Trains)
Apr 15
30 months
Oct 17

South Eastern (Southeastern)
April 14
50 months
June 18

Wales and Borders (Arriva Trains Wales) [[Arriva Trains Wales Trenau Arriva Cymru]]
Oct 18
Oct 18

South West (South West Trains)
Feb 17
26 months
April 19

Cross Country
Apr 16
43 months
Nov 19

Dec 21
Dec 21

(26 March 2013)

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