HS2

15.12.15

More international operators seek to win UK rail franchises

The Department for Transport (DfT) has chosen the first 11 operators that have been successful in their pre-qualification questionnaire (PQQ) passport application – the government’s new approach to rail franchising.

Trenitalia, Italy’s state-owned rail operator, is among them, as is MTR Corporation, which runs the Hong Kong metro system and the Crossrail concession (under the name TfL Rail for now), and has been operating London Overground as part of a joint venture since 2007.

The full list of operators includes all the main franchised operators on the national rail network, including others owned by foreign state-owned rail companies:

  • Abellio Transport Group Limited
  • Arriva UK Trains Limited
  • First Rail Holdings Limited
  • Go-Ahead Holding Limited
  • Govia Limited
  • Keolis (UK) Limited
  • MTR Corporation (UK) Limited
  • National Express Trains Limited
  • Stagecoach Group Plc
  • Trenitalia SpA
  • Virgin Holdings Limited

These companies will be able to submit their expression of interest for all future franchise competitions within the valid timeframe of the passport from today (15 December).

The passport was created to innovate, streamline and modernise the DfT’s procurement practice, as well as encourage applications from new and international entrants that have an interest in the rail passenger market.

On 2 December, during a Public Accounts Committee evidence session, the DfT admitted that its rail franchising contracts in the past have been “overly rigid”, but said this was now changing.

Its permanent secretary, Philip Rutnam, said the government was taking an active approach to talking to international operators not yet in the UK market.

Peter Wilkinson, managing director for passenger services at the DfT’s Rail Executive, expected there to be two or three new entrants to the market in the next few years and confirmed that the DfT had already spoken to four international operators at that point.

He added: “We operate a very open dialogue with our market. We see those companies seeking to enter the market in the same way we see those companies that are already in the market, and we are very open with them about the franchising process.

“One of the things we have done that was not present before the West Coast competition collapsed was absolutely to publish our franchising process to remove the mystique around it – to demystify it.”

The passport system was based on similar pre-qualification and certification schemes in other parts of the market, aimed at cutting down on the time and money organisations spend providing technical information for multiple franchise competitions.

Rail minister Claire Perry said: “The quality of the submissions evidenced that we had explicitly sought high standards, integrity and professionalism from the national and international market. During the assessment stages, we scrutinised and scored technical ability, strict safety standards and exemplary management practices.

“Our approach has resulted in diverse and competitive market bidders from the UK and overseas who now hold a passport.”

Their passports will be valid for up to four years, during which operators can apply for all future franchise competitions without needing to submit the same information each time.

“This supports the department’s effort to drive innovative customer-focused thinking and delivery from operators. Putting the passenger first is at the heart of all our franchise tenders and I believe this passport will keep the market fresh and dynamic,” Perry continued.

“We can now focus our efforts on managing and negotiating the life-cycle of future franchises, build the necessary long-term industry relationships and continue to encourage parties from the UK and overseas to participate in our marketplace. This announcement is a hugely positive step and I am looking forward to seeing great results from a healthy, competitive open market.”

(Top image c. Alvey and Towers)

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

rail technology magazine tv

more videos >

latest rail news

Verster to leave ScotRail for East West Rail

20/01/2017Verster to leave ScotRail for East West Rail

Phil Verster will be leaving his current position as ScotRail’s managing director, which he has held since 2015, to become the MD of the Ea... more >
Khan accused of lying over failure to extend TfL fares freeze to travelcards

20/01/2017Khan accused of lying over failure to extend TfL fares freeze to travelcards

London mayor Sadiq Khan has been accused of reneging on his pre-election pledge of a TfL-wide fares freeze after it was revealed that it would ha... more >
‘Transformational change’ in Wales franchise hinges on new trains and electrification

20/01/2017‘Transformational change’ in Wales franchise hinges on new trains and electrification

A committee of MPs has urged the Welsh and UK governments to end underdevelopment of the Welsh rail network, pointing to the new Wales and Border... more >

editor's comment

17/01/2017Rising to the digital demand

The countdown is well and truly on for this year’s UK Rail Industry Awards (UKRIA), and the whole RTM team is looking forward to welcoming you to the fourth edition of this event on 9 February.  Held once again at Battersea Evolution, the prestigious awards ceremony promises to be an extraordinary evening, celebrating some of the major achievements of the industry in the last year. You can see the awards shortlist on pag... read more >

last word

Making rail fares simpler

Making rail fares simpler

David Sidebottom, passenger director at Transport Focus, explains how a number of initiatives over the next 12 months aim to make rail fares simpler. By the end of 2017, we hope passengers w... more > more last word articles >

'the sleepers' daily blog

Commuters close to taking government to court over Southern crisis

06/01/2017Commuters close to taking government to court over Southern crisis

A commuter organisation looking to take the DfT to court over its handling of the Southern rail crisis have said that their legal challenge is almost ready. The Association of British Commuters (ABC) hopes to submit its full application calling for a judicial review by the end of this month, after initially raising funds for the challenge... more >
read more blog posts from 'the sleeper' >

comment

Exhibitors prepare for France’s rail technology showcase

20/01/2017Exhibitors prepare for France’s rail technology showcase

Florence Gaidet from Mack Brooks gives RTM an update on what people can expect from SIFER 2017, France’s showcase for railway technology, p... more >
The data-driven railway

20/01/2017The data-driven railway

RTM speaks to James Dean, Network Rail’s director of route asset management (DRAM), LNW, about the work the infrastructure owner is carryin... more >
Achieving efficiency through standards

17/01/2017Achieving efficiency through standards

Vaibhav Puri, head of standards policy at the RSSB, attempts to bust the myths around standards, and argues that they will be vital to the tradin... more >
A digital railway for a modern Britain

17/01/2017A digital railway for a modern Britain

David Waboso CBE, managing director of Group Digital Railway, discusses using digital technology and how we must work together better as an indus... more >

rail industry focus

View all News

interviews

Investing in the future of Scottish Rail

15/11/2016Investing in the future of Scottish Rail

Phil Verster, managing director of ScotRail Alliance, speaks to RTM’s Luana Salles about the recently-published ‘Investing in the Fut... more >