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East Anglia MP warns Brexit could lead to loss of franchise funding

The new operator of the East Anglia franchise could receive less money in the economic uncertainty following the UK’s vote to leave the European Union, a local MP has warned.

Ben Gummer, the Conservative MP for Ipswich, who opposed leaving the EU, told local paper the East Anglian Daily Times: “The rail franchise is due to be announced in the next week or two and that was going to include a provision to invest millions in new trains. Will that be affected?”

FirstGroup, National Express and a joint venture of Abellio and Stagecoach are the shortlisted bidders for the franchise.

The invitation to tender includes requirements to introduce at least two 90-minute services between London and Norwich every weekday. The latest version of the DfT’s Rail Franchise Schedule said that the contract award would be made in June, but as Gummer highlighted this decision has been pushed back, temporarily, it seems.

Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin, who also supported remaining in the EU, said in a speech on Tuesday: “Investment in the long-term infrastructure we need, has become more important, not less.”

He said the UK’s transport industry was well equipped to support economic growth, with existing rail projects such as upgrades at Birmingham New Street and Manchester Victoria complete, further projects such as HS2 due to go ahead, and further transport spending due to grow by 50% during this parliament.

Following last week’s referendum result, Patrick Flaherty, AECOM’s UK and Ireland CEO, said that major rail projects such as HS2 would be “more crucial than ever” to help steer the UK through economic turmoil.

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Andrew Gwilt   01/07/2016 at 20:29

To be fair I want First Group to win the East Anglia rail franchise which they did operate the Great Eastern network as it was First Great Eastern from 1996 to 2004 before National Express took over and WAGN and Anglia Railways merged together to become One Railway then National Express East Anglia from 2004 to 2012 then Abellio took over to be called Greater Anglia but then rebranded as Abellio Greater Anglia in 2013. So yes I want First Group to win the franchise.

David   02/07/2016 at 20:38

Why First? What can they do for the franchise? And what did you vote in the referendum?

Andrew Gwilt   02/07/2016 at 20:49

Good Question David-OUT. But I do think First or National Express could win the rail franchise to take over from Abellio and also to improve the franchise with better services, refurbished trains and improved railway stations and also the new railway station on the Great Eastern Main Line in Chelmsford, Essex called Beaulieu to be built and to open in 2020.

Andrew Gwilt   02/07/2016 at 20:52 Which the new station is scheduled to be opened in mid 2020.

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