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

 

rail technology magazine tv

more videos >

latest rail news

Grayling commits £5m to install digital signalling on TransPennine route

22/09/2017Grayling commits £5m to install digital signalling on TransPennine route

Passengers travelling between Manchester and York could be the first in the north to enjoy an intercity railway that uses digital signalling, Chr... more >
Aslef and GTR once again close to ending DOO dispute

22/09/2017Aslef and GTR once again close to ending DOO dispute

For the third time this year, Aslef and GTR are reportedly close to resolving their dispute on Southern services. According to a statement p... more >
£120m Glasgow Queen Street redevelopment moves into next phase

22/09/2017£120m Glasgow Queen Street redevelopment moves into next phase

The major £120m development of Glasgow Queen Street has this week entered its next phase as work is now underway to prepare redundant build... more >

editor's comment

04/09/2017A series of incredible events

There are a couple of announcements I’d like to make in this editor’s comment, which I believe could be very beneficial to many of our readers.  Firstly, the deadline is fast approaching to enter the UK Rail Industry Awards (UKRIA), which will take place on 22 March 2018 at Battersea Evolution in London.  Now in its fifth year, UKRIA continues to bring together the leaders and decision-makers running the rail ... read more >

rail industry focus

View all News

interviews

Pushing forward with East West Rail plans

21/09/2017Pushing forward with East West Rail plans

Andy Free, head of engineering assurance at East West Rail (EWR) Alliance, discusses the recent round two public consultation on the plans for th... more >
A game changer for Wales and Borders

17/07/2017A game changer for Wales and Borders

Andy Thomas, managing director for Network Rail’s Wales route, describes how the infrastructure owner will work more collaboratively than e... more >
‘In the rail business, we’re leading the way’

13/07/2017‘In the rail business, we’re leading the way’

Andy Milner, the chief executive of Amey, tells RTM about the transformation programme that has been taking place in the company since his takeov... more >

last word

How do tram and rail passengers compare?

How do tram and rail passengers compare?

David Sidebottom, director at Transport Focus, analyses the drivers in performance of passenger satisfaction in tram compared to rail. Resul... more > more last word articles >

'the sleepers' daily blog

Investing in rail in the north

22/09/2017Investing in rail in the north

Rob Morris, director of operation at Siemens Rail Automation UK, runs through his organisation’s impressive track record across the north. ... more >
read more blog posts from 'the sleeper' >

comment

Wirral Loop: ‘one industry’ approach to minimise disruption

21/09/2017Wirral Loop: ‘one industry’ approach to minimise disruption

Wayne Menzies, head of rail for Merseytravel and chair of the Liverpool City Region’s Major Events Transport Board, discusses the recently ... more >
Crossrail: track installation complete

21/09/2017Crossrail: track installation complete

Chris Enoch, Crossrail’s railway systems project manager, discusses the complexities in the design and installation of the track system on ... more >
Ballast or slab?

21/09/2017Ballast or slab?

As HS2 moves forward, William Powrie, professor of geotechnical engineering and dean of the Faculty of Engineering and the Environment at the Uni... more >
A network of training excellence

18/09/2017A network of training excellence

Writing on behalf of the Training Alliance, Simon Rennie runs through the early results of a tight-knit collaboration agreement between key rail ... more >