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DfT outlines need for WCP bids to meet ‘creative and ambitious’ plans

The government has revealed further details about its new West Coast Partnership (WCP) franchise which is scheduled to start in 2019, including more specific timescales about when the franchise integration will take place.

The WCP would combine the existing InterCity West Coast franchise with HS2 to deliver services on the West Coast Main Line (WCML) from 2019, as well as designing and running Phase 1 of HS2 from 2026. Bidders would then be expected to run the new services for 3-5 years before an optional extension period expected to last 2-3 years.

The DfT has now released a prospectus for potential bidders on the franchise, with interested parties asked to set out how they would meet over nine criteria for running the franchise. The invitation to tender (ITT) document will be released shortly.

“We need world-class expertise to deliver this new chapter in modernising the railways,” said transport secretary Chris Grayling. “We are calling for bidder groups with a blend of skills including operating conventional rail services, high-speed rail services, technical innovation and great customer service.

“We expect to attract highly experienced companies, which ultimately means a better deal for passengers both now and in the future.”

WCP Timetable

The prospectus asks potential bidders for “creative and ambitious” plans for areas such as looking after passengers, improving performance and increasing accessibility to the service.

Other criteria upon which the government will be judging bids are investment in staff, improved ticketing and fares, use of technology, the development of existing stations, collaboration with other bodies such as devolved regions, and sustainable development.

The chairman of HS2 Ltd, Sir David Higgins, said that the WCP will be central to developing a joined-up operation environment for future HS2 services.

“By bringing all our skills, experience and ideas together, we will create the best railway in the world,” he added.

As mentioned, the new operator will be expected to work closely with local transport authorities, Transport Scotland and the Welsh government to ensure passengers receive the expected benefits across the WCML.

The government has confirmed that the delivery of the WCP will require a new short-term contract of around 12 months to continue the operation of services on the WCML once the current franchise ends in 2018.

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Lutz   20/01/2017 at 00:44

Perhaps Ryanair would be the most suitable candidate to make a success of this.

David   21/01/2017 at 23:23

You've got to be kidding, Lutz.

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