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DfT reveals shortlist of three JVs for West Coast Partnership franchise

The shortlist of companies who will compete for the West Coast Partnership Franchise have today been announced by the DfT, and includes bids from three joint ventures: First Trenitalia West Coast Ltd, MTR West Coast Partnership Ltd and West Coast Partnership Ltd.

Whoever wins the franchise will run services on the West Coast Main Line from April 2019. The winning company will also be responsible for designing and running the first Phase of HS2 between London and Birmingham when trains are predicted to be running from 2026.

The final list of competing bidders includes a number of partnerships between UK rail consultants, operators and experts and a handful of global rail operators with a strong track record of high customer satisfaction.

First Trenitalia West Coast Ltd, which is a joint venture between First Rail Holdings Limited and Trenitalia SpA, were the first name on the list.

Also included on the shortlist is MTR West Coast Partnership Ltd, a venture between Hong Kong firm MTR’s UK wing and Guangshen Railway Company who will also work with a number of sub-contractors including Deloitte MCS Ltd, Panasonic Systems Europe, Snowfall AB, Ltd and WSP Parsons Brinkerhoff. MTR also recently announced that it would work with Bombardier to deliver new rolling stock for the South-Western franchise, which it will run with FirstGroup in a partnership called First MTR.

Finally, West Coast Partnership Ltd, an alliance of Stagecoach Group plc, Virgin Holdings Ltd and French operator SNCF C3 were also announced as potential new operators for the franchise.

“I am pleased to inform the House that we have today published the shortlists of companies that will bid for the new West Coast Partnership franchise which will launch the first services on HS2,” said rail minister Paul Maynard speaking in the House of Commons.

“The West Coast Partnership will support growth and better services on the West Coast Main Line while helping to ensure HS2 becomes the backbone of Britain’s future railways,” he added.

“This will create more seats for passengers, improve connections between our great cities, free up space on existing rail lines and generate jobs and economic growth throughout the country.”

A central component of the bids will be how well the company can collaborate with HS2 Ltd to design, and operate the initial HS2 service between London and Birmingham.

“There are significant benefits in bringing the two projects closer together to ensure the best outcomes for passengers both before and after the start of the HS2 services,” Maynard concluded.

After being shortlisted, Steve Montgomery, First Rail managing director, said that the joint venture with Trenitalia was well positioned “to develop a completely new customer proposition both on the West Coast route, and, through the exciting opportunity this franchise offers, to design and run initial services on the HS2 network”.

Martin Griffiths, CEO of Stagecoach Group, added that he was pleased that “the extensive expertise and strong track-record of Stagecoach and our partners has been recognised”.

"We look forward to working with local stakeholders on shaping our plans to improve services for customers and deliver significant value to the taxpayer to reinvest in public services,” he said.

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Andrew Gwilt   23/06/2017 at 01:17

Does that mean Class 707's might be moved to Southeastern to replace the Class 465's and Class 466's Networkers as First MTR doesn't want the Class 707's as they are ordering new Bombardier Aventra trains and Southeastern might use the Class 707's on inner-suburban and outer-suburban routes. Or could Southeastern receive the rest of the Class 377/5's Electrostars as they got 8 Class 377/5's at the moment whilst Thameslink are hiring the 15 Class 377/5's as more Class 700/0's (8-Car) and Class 700/1's (12-Car) Siemens Desiro City fleets are delivered. Or will Southeastern keep the Class 465's and Class 466's until the operator decides to order new trains to replace the Class 465's and Class 466's Networkers.

Andrew Gwilt   23/06/2017 at 01:18

Nope sorry wrong article. RTM if you can please delete this. I was meant to comment on the other article about the new Southeastern franchise.

Ian B   03/07/2017 at 10:39

Why not have different companies running HS2 and WCML to give passengers more choice and increase competition?

Thrashing Badger   17/07/2017 at 17:35

RTM, please find enclosed this collection of punctuation. If you see Andrew, perhaps you could pass it on for the sake of legibility. Thank you. .... ,,,, ;; .

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