Latest Rail News

01.02.13

DfT sets out franchise extensions for FirstGroup and c2c

The Government has outlined how franchises ‘paused’ during the controversy over the West Coast contract will be handled, following the findings of the Brown review.

The DfT is starting negotiations with current operators First Great Western, First Capital Connect and c2c to extend their franchises while longer-term options are explored.

The Great Western, Essex Thameside and Thameslink, Southern & Great Northern franchises were all paused last year once “serious errors” came to light over the award of the West Coast franchise to FirstGroup.

The Essex Thameside franchise competition is to be resumed with a revised invitation to tender for a 15-year contract issued to bidders over the summer while negotiations for an interim contract with c2c of up to two years take place.

The Great Western competition has been cancelled and negotiations for a two-year extension with First Great Western are taking place while longer term proposals will be set out in the spring.

The competition for Thameslink, Southern and Great Northern will be resumed with the DfT working towards awarding a seven-year contract. The current franchise operated by First Capital Connect has a 28-week extension that the department aims to exercise.

“In parallel with negotiations with existing operators to continue running their services, directly operated railways will also be undertaking the minimum necessary preparations to take over services in case terms cannot be agreed,” the DfT said.

Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin said he “does not believe it would be appropriate to reimburse bidders” for their costs.

He added: “These plans mark an important step on the way to restarting the franchising programme, and while I am determined this should happen as quickly as possible we do need time to get this right.

“We have had to take some tough decisions regarding franchising, and while they may provide a challenge in the short term, I believe the lessons we have learnt will help deliver a more robust system in the future benefitting fare payers and taxpayers alike.

“As always our priority is to ensure these changes will not impact on services or our commitment to improving the railways. Our latest step towards delivering a high-speed rail network which will link many of our major cities by a new fleet of state-of-the-art trains is testament to how we are delivering on that commitment.”

In the spring a further statement will be made on franchising policy, based on the Brown review’s recommendations and the Transport Select Committee’s Rail 2020 report.

RMT general secretary Bob Crow said: “The day the lid was lifted on the sordid fiasco on the West Coast the Government are at it again doling out lucrative two year contract extensions around the country with Directly Operated Railways on hand to sweep up the mess if it all falls apart. The lies, deceit and racketeering of rail privatisation have to be called to a halt now.”

Stephen Locke, chair, London TravelWatch said: “The success of Transport for London’s London Overground service has shown how the franchising system can use a more comprehensive set of measures of quality to improve all aspects of services for passengers and ensure that the services provided reflect their needs.”

Tell us what you think – have your say below, or email us directly at opinion@railtechnologymagazine.com

Image c. FirstGroup

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

rail technology magazine tv

more videos >

latest rail news

Nexus to lead north east bid for 5G connectivity testbed

26/09/2017Nexus to lead north east bid for 5G connectivity testbed

Transport authorities in the north east have today voiced their ambition to set up a national testbed for 5G connectivity in the region. In ... more >
HS2 slams claim that line ‘won’t work’ without Crossrail 2

26/09/2017HS2 slams claim that line ‘won’t work’ without Crossrail 2

HS2 Ltd has this week hit back at claims that the planned high-speed line will “not work properly” without the proposed Crossrail 2 r... more >
NR extends platform at Liverpool South Parkway ahead of Lime Street upgrade

26/09/2017NR extends platform at Liverpool South Parkway ahead of Lime Street upgrade

Important work to temporarily extend platform 4 at Liverpool South Parkway has been completed this week in preparation for the major upgrade happ... more >

editor's comment

04/09/2017A series of incredible events

There are a couple of announcements I’d like to make in this editor’s comment, which I believe could be very beneficial to many of our readers.  Firstly, the deadline is fast approaching to enter the UK Rail Industry Awards (UKRIA), which will take place on 22 March 2018 at Battersea Evolution in London.  Now in its fifth year, UKRIA continues to bring together the leaders and decision-makers running the rail ... read more >

rail industry focus

View all News

interviews

Pushing forward with East West Rail plans

21/09/2017Pushing forward with East West Rail plans

Andy Free, head of engineering assurance at East West Rail (EWR) Alliance, discusses the recent round two public consultation on the plans for th... more >
A game changer for Wales and Borders

17/07/2017A game changer for Wales and Borders

Andy Thomas, managing director for Network Rail’s Wales route, describes how the infrastructure owner will work more collaboratively than e... more >
‘In the rail business, we’re leading the way’

13/07/2017‘In the rail business, we’re leading the way’

Andy Milner, the chief executive of Amey, tells RTM about the transformation programme that has been taking place in the company since his takeov... more >

last word

Encouraging youngsters to be safe on the railway

Encouraging youngsters to be safe on the railway

This summer, Arriva Group's CrossCountry and the Scout Association joined to launch a new partnership to promote rail safety among young people. ... more > more last word articles >

'the sleepers' daily blog

Deadline for UKRIA 2018 entries extended by two weeks

26/09/2017Deadline for UKRIA 2018 entries extended by two weeks

UKIRA, the rail industry’s biggest and most prestigious awards event hosted by RTM, has officially extended the deadline for entries by an ... more >
read more blog posts from 'the sleeper' >

comment

Form and function realised through advanced materials

25/09/2017Form and function realised through advanced materials

Paul Gallen, sector manager at the National Composites Centre (NCC), outlines the benefits that composite materials bring to the production and o... more >
Secure stations

25/09/2017Secure stations

Gary Heward, director at MFD International and a security consultant and member of the Register of Security Engineers and Specialists, managed by... more >
Optimising traffic management

25/09/2017Optimising traffic management

Taku Fujiyama, from University College London (UCL), and Lei Chen, from the University of Birmingham, on the work and early findings of the Devel... more >
A remarkable project

25/09/2017A remarkable project

Businesses from across the UK of all types and sizes will help make HS2 an exemplary project, writes Will Roberts, communications director UK &am... more >