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

Five injured in Tube explosion

20/06/2018Five injured in Tube explosion

Five people have been injured in an explosion at a north London Underground station. A Metropolitan Police spokesperson confirmed that police we... more >
Strike news: guards row brings fresh strikes to Northern, South Western called off

19/06/2018Strike news: guards row brings fresh strikes to Northern, South Western called off

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union have walked out in a fresh dispute between the union and Northern Rail over a long-runnin... more >
TOC bosses appear before MPs, blame chaos on infrastructure failures

19/06/2018TOC bosses appear before MPs, blame chaos on infrastructure failures

Bosses from Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) and Northern Rail cited failures in infrastructure being completed in time and last-minute change... 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

Transforming travel in the north west

06/02/2018Transforming travel in the north west

RTM’s Josh Mines talks to Robin Davis, head of new trains at TransPennine Express (TPE), about the huge rolling stock change journey the co... more >
Thameslink: Nearing the end of the line

23/01/2018Thameslink: Nearing the end of the line

RTM’s Josh Mines catches up with Mark Somers, project director for Thameslink, on how the final stages of the programme are progressing and... more >
Modernising journeys in north east England

09/11/2017Modernising journeys in north east England

First Hull Trains is about to embark on the biggest fleet overhaul it has delivered since being set up in 2000. Managing director Will Dunnett te... 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

How biometrics can help improve health and safety measures on railway construction projects

20/03/2018How biometrics can help improve health and safety measures on railway construction projects

ADVERTISEMENT FEATURE Biometric identity, time and attendance specialists Donseed looks at how biometric technology is already starting to enh... more >
read more blog posts from 'the sleeper' >

comment

Apprenticeship levy: the latest picture

05/06/2018Apprenticeship levy: the latest picture

Mark Holmes, head of membership and development at NSAR, describes the current resources available to the rail industry to ensure companies of al... more >
Moving in the right direction

05/06/2018Moving in the right direction

Alex Cropper, head of projects group at Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM), reports on the exciting progress so far in building the Trafford... more >
Overcoming leaves on the line

05/06/2018Overcoming leaves on the line

Paul Gray, professional lead of engineering R&D at the RSSB, explains how latest research proves using double variable rate sanders on trains... more >
Rail: A woman’s world

18/05/2018Rail: A woman’s world

RTM’s Sacha Rowlands reports from a panel debate where six of the industry’s leading figures convened to discuss the fundamental issu... more >