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DfT sets out timetable for future franchises

The Department for Transport (DfT) is seeking expressions of interest for rail franchises for the next ten years.

In the franchise notice, the DfT says it is seeking expressions of interest in operating rail services from companies, consortia and not-for-profit organisations with the necessary financial strength, commercial experience and management capability.

To participate in the competition, bidders must apply for a Rail Franchise Passport, introduced last year.

It also announces a number of potential new revenue streams, including remapping Great Western and Thameslink, Southern and Great Northern (TSGN) and partnering with Transport for London to remap services into London in order to provide better jobs, housing and better quality of life.

The DfT is also considering introducing a new East-West franchise linking Bletchley, Oxford, Aylesbury and Bicester, and allowing greater local control over the West Midlands franchise.

The DfT added that successful bidders should aim to place passenger needs at the centre of operations, reduce their environmental impact, include SMEs in the supply chain and implement major infrastructure and rolling stock projects smoothly.

The published deadline dates for the new franchises are:


  • Passport application: November 2019
  • Expression of interest: February 2020
  • Invitation to tender: July 2020
  • Contract award: May 2021
  • Franchise start: September 2021


  • Passport application: February 2020
  • Expression of interest: May 2020
  • Invitation to tender: October 2020
  • Contract award: August 2021
  • Franchise start: December 2021

TransPennine Express

  • Passport application: June 2021
  • Expression of interest: September 2021
  • Invitation to tender: February 2022
  • Contract award: December 2022
  • Franchise start: April 2023

East Coast

  • Passport application: May 2021
  • Expression of interest: August 2021
  • Invitation to tender: January 2022
  • Contract award: November 2022
  • Franchise start: March 2023


  • Passport application: June 2023
  • Expression of interest: September 2023
  • Invitation to tender: February 2024
  • Contract award: December 2024
  • Franchise start: April 2025

East Anglia

  • Passport application: December 2023
  • Expression of interest: March 2024
  • Invitation to tender: August 2024
  • Contract award: June 2025
  • Franchise start: October 2025

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Pdeaves   24/05/2016 at 11:15

Wasn't it intended that bidders did not *have* to have a 'passport', but rather that the scheme was intended to reduce the paperwork for repeat bidders?

Huguenot   24/05/2016 at 11:24

Making East-West Rail a separate franchise doesn't make sense. Why not simply give it to Chiltern for the remainder of their current franchise and then include it in the new Chiltern franchise when it is re-let. After all, we are talking about services to/from Aylesbury where Chiltern already has a depot, and Chiltern already oprerates Oxford-Bicester.

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