Latest Rail News

30.09.13

East Coast bid from Keolis and Eurostar

Keolis and Eurostar International have announced a joint bid to run the East Coast rail franchise.

The contract is expected to be awarded in October 2014 and commence in February 2015. East Coast has been run under Directly Operated Railways (DOR) since 2009, when National Express pulled out. Reprivatisation of the route has been strongly opposed by unions and by Labour.

Keolis would be the lead partner in the bid, and currently jointly operates the Southern, Southeastern, London Midland and TransPennine Express franchises. Keolis also operates the Nottingham tram system.

Alistair Gordon, chief executive of Keolis UK, said: “I believe that our ability to draw upon an international track record of delivering complex long-distance services, coupled with Eurostar’s reputation for customer excellence, is a unique proposition.

“What’s exciting about the East Coast Mainline is that there is an opportunity to transform a hugely important national route, which is yet to see the same levels of investment as the West Coast Mainline.

“We feel that our pedigree of international rail know-how and specifically as delivery partner for the UK’s first domestic high-speed service, makes us ideally placed to realise the East Coast Mainline’s potential.”

Nicolas Petrovic, chief executive of Eurostar, said: “By joining forces with Keolis, we bring a unique blend of expertise and innovation with a fresh perspective.  The East Coast franchise is a vital economic artery and a key route for both business and leisure passengers which represents an exciting opportunity for future growth and investment”.

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

Comments

Ricp   30/09/2013 at 18:41

Keolis Eurostar will have a tough challenge with this as they will be lumbered with the Incredibly Expensive Passenger train by the DfT. Bearing in mind that GNER rented three North of London Eurostar trains to operate this route, a cheaper option could have been to retain the Class 91 locomotives and Mk 4 Coaches, with the short Eurostar trains as a viable backup. This will be an interesting franchising as the bidders will not be offering such premia that GNER and NatEx bid. The determination to get franchising going again at any costs may rebound on the DfT!

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