Latest Rail News

07.07.15

Stagecoach fails to secure direct award of South West Rail franchise

Stagecoach Group has confirmed that the Department for Transport has ended talks with its subsidiary, Stagecoach South Western Trains Ltd, on the direct award of the new South West rail franchise. 

The current franchise is due to end in February 2017 and South West Trains had submitted proposals to the DfT as part of previously announced government plans for the direct award of a new franchise to at least April 2019. 

However, Stagecoach says the DfT has now indicated that it plans to invite applicants to tender for a new long-term franchise to commence sometime in 2017. 

Stagecoach has run South West Trains since British Rail was privatised in 1996 and was last awarded the contract in 2007 for 10 years. It is one of the UK’s biggest rail franchises, operating more than 1,600 trains a day and carrying 220 million passengers a year. 

A DfT spokesperson told RTM: “We are committed to providing better journeys for passengers, and securing improved services through franchising is at the heart of that. 

“In order to ensure the best deal for passengers and taxpayers, we are proceeding to a full competition for the South Western franchise, and negotiations for the direct award have been brought to an end. There is no impact on passenger services.” 

But the DfT has indicated that it expects to exercise its pre-contracted option to extend the current South West Trains franchise beyond February 2017 until “no later than August 2017”.

A Stagecoach statement said: “Despite extensive negotiations, a significant difference has remained between both parties regarding the financial evaluation of the proposals. As a result, South West Trains has been unable to reach an agreement on a direct award.” 

“We will continue to deliver on our commitments to government and customers, including the £50m package of investment agreed with the DfT earlier this year as part of a Deed of Amendment to the existing franchise.” 

Stagecoach added that it still believes the company is in a strong position to submit a powerful and attractive bid for a new South West Trains franchise.

(Image: c. Alvey and Towers)

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

Comments

Andrew Gwilt   07/07/2015 at 17:42

Well I must say that South West Trains & Stagecoach have done so well lasting over 20 years serving the West of England, Solent, South Coast, Surrey, Hampshire and Southwest London as well Isle of Wright with brilliant services, reliable trains to cope with everyday rush hour and the Class 458's that are being converted from 4-car into 5-car 458/5's and the new Siemens Class 707 Desiro City trains that are to be built and to be operated on London Waterloo-Reading/Windsor & Eton Riverside & London Waterloo-Guildford services as well Siemens Class 450's & Class 444's Desiro's that are the most reliable trains that operates between London Waterloo-Southampton Central, Bournemouth, Portsmouth Harbour, Portsmouth & Southsea, Aldershot & Guildford routes, Class 158's that is operated between London Waterloo-Exeter Central, Yeovil Central, Yeovil Pen Mill & the counties of Somerset, Wiltshire and Dorset and the former London Underground trains that are used in the eastern side of Isle of Wright.

Simon   12/07/2015 at 20:44

Whilst Stagecoach SWT have and continue to deliver major developments to their franchise operation - certainly far superior to anything other similar operators such as first and NS(abellio)have produced what does let SWT down is the uninspired timetable where trains drift around on their long distance services - Portsmouth is no faster now than when first electrified nearly 80 years ago and Southampton isn't a lot better.

H. Trevor Jones   09/08/2015 at 09:58

I prefer a punctual train to a train that's super-fast 80% of the time; I've a feeling from travel experience that that's how Swiss railways achieve their famous punctuality records, with a minute or two to spare built in if things go well. I find SWT pretty reliable as a mostly off-peak user around the system.

Add your comment

 

related

rail technology magazine tv

more videos >

latest rail news

Dawlish railway may be ‘moved out to sea’ to protect it from storms under new proposals

13/06/2019Dawlish railway may be ‘moved out to sea’ to protect it from storms under new proposals

The storm-battered Dawlish rail line could be “moved out to sea” and away from the “hazard” of the cliffs under new plans... more >
TfL awards contract for new DLR fleet to replace 30-year-old trains

12/06/2019TfL awards contract for new DLR fleet to replace 30-year-old trains

TfL has awarded a contract for 43 new trains to replace the oldest rolling stock on the Docklands Light Railway (DLR), with the first scheduled t... more >
Hitachi trains for Happy trains

10/06/2019Hitachi trains for Happy trains

ScotRail project manager Kirsty Devlin discusses the withdrawal of Class 365s, to be replaced with the brand-new Class 385 fleet. While Scot... more >

editor's comment

23/01/2018Out with the old...

Despite a few disappointing policy announcements, especially for the electrification aficionados amongst us, 2017 was, like Darren Caplan writes on page 20, a year generally marked by positive news for the rail industry. We polished off the iconic Ordsall Chord (p32), hit some solid milestones on Thameslink (p40), progressed on ambitious rolling stock orders (p16), and finally started moving forward on HS2 (p14) ‒ paving the way for a New Ye... read more >

rail industry focus

View all News

interviews

Advancing the rail industry with management degree apprenticeships

08/05/2019Advancing the rail industry with management degree apprenticeships

In answering the pressing questions of how current and future generations of managers can provide solutions to high-profile infrastructure projec... more >
Women in rail - is the industry on the right track?

12/03/2019Women in rail - is the industry on the right track?

RTM sits down with Samantha Smith, sole female member of the TransPennine Route Upgrade Alliance Leadership Team, to find out more about encourag... more >
TfN Strategic Transport Plan: not just for transport's sake

22/01/2019TfN Strategic Transport Plan: not just for transport's sake

Peter Molyneux, Transport for the North’s (TfN’s) strategic roads director, has been leading on the development of the seven economic... 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

Apprentice to Co-leading the Rail Sector Deal

05/06/2019Apprentice to Co-leading the Rail Sector Deal

In a series of Q&A’s with key speakers on the run up to TransCityRail Midlands, we caught up with TransCityRail panellist and Amey&rsqu... more >
read more blog posts from 'the sleeper' >

comment

Hitachi trains for Happy trains

10/06/2019Hitachi trains for Happy trains

ScotRail project manager Kirsty Devlin discusses the withdrawal of Class 365s, to be replaced with the brand-new Class 385 fleet. While Scot... more >
Malcolm Holmes on new stations for the Black Country

10/06/2019Malcolm Holmes on new stations for the Black Country

Malcolm Holmes, executive director of the West Midlands Rail Executive, described the new stations set to be built for the Black Country region o... more >
The skills bottleneck: Dealing with growing apprenticeship demand

10/06/2019The skills bottleneck: Dealing with growing apprenticeship demand

Richard Turner, head of apprenticeships at Network Rail, details the reasons for growing apprenticeship demand in the rail sector over the coming... more >
A train journey on the Midland Main Line 15 years from now…

10/06/2019A train journey on the Midland Main Line 15 years from now…

Chris Hobson, director of policy and external affairs at the East Midlands Chamber, talks in detail about what travelling through the region will... more >