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FirstGroup and Trenitalia join forces for East Midlands and WCP franchises

FirstGroup and Trenitalia UK have announced that they will be submitting joint bids for the new East Midlands and West Coast Partnership (WCP) franchises due to be awarded next year.

The companies have submitted an expression of interest to the DfT in respect of the East Midlands rail franchise competition under the joint venture First Trenitalia East Midlands Rail Ltd. 

This is not the first venture into the UK franchise market for the Italian operator Trenitalia after it was revealed recently that it will acquire the c2c franchise from National Express.

Steve Montgomery, First Rail’s managing director said: “We are pleased to announce that we will be partnering with Trenitalia to bid for the upcoming East Midlands and West Coast Partnership rail franchises.

“Both ourselves and Trenitalia have extensive expertise of running commuter, regional and long distance services such as those that make up the East Midlands franchise.

“Their knowledge will add further depth and understanding as we develop our proposals to deliver passenger benefits that take full advantage of the significant investment that government and the industry are making in the region’s rail infrastructure.”

First Rail has a strong track record in delivering services on the British railway through its other TOCs Great Western Railway, TransPennine Express and Hull Trains which passengers rated the highest performing rail operator last year in a survey by Transport Focus.

Similarly, Trenitalia has modernised the customer experience on Italy’s network through its high-speed Frecciarossa routes.

Barbara Morgante, CEO of Trenitalia, said that she was delighted to announce the partnership with FirstGroup, believing that the “experience, competence , innovation and skills” of the companies will provide the “perfect mix” in their bid for the franchises.

“Trenitalia is ready to bring all its competencies to the partnership, both from a technical and commercial side, developed in the highly competitive Italian market,” Morgante said.

“Our recent agreement-in-principle for the acquisition of c2c also serves to transform us from a potential new comer into a convincing, and effective, player in the UK market, and will strengthen the Trenitalia-FirstGroup partnership.”

Last week the DfT revealed further details about the WCP, releasing its prospectus for potential bidders on the franchise. The invitation to tender (ITT) document is set to be released shortly.

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Andrew Gwilt   25/01/2017 at 22:25

What about National Express Ltd? As c2c Essex Thameside rail franchise will be taken over by Trenitalia from Spring this year. Will National Express still be taking over some of the rail franchise in the UK. South West Trains could lose Stagecoach and National Express could take over the SWT franchise and possibly take over other rail franchises such as the Welsh rail franchise if Arriva loses the ATW franchise that could be taken over by Abellio or Trenitalia. It seems that foreign rail companies are taking over the UK's rail franchise. Current TOC includes: Govia/Go Ahead manages Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) (Thameslink, Southern (Gatwick Express) and Great Northern (TSGN)), London Midland and Southeastern (Southeastern Highspeed). Abellio/Serco manages Merseyrail (Liverpool Merseyside DC Railway), Greater Anglia (Stansted Express & Dutchflyer) and Scotland's Railway (ScotRail). DB/Arriva manages Arriva Trains Wales, Northern Rail, Chiltern Railways and London Overground (LOROL/TfL Arriva London Rail). Stagecoach Group/Virgin manages South West Trains and East Midlands Trains aswell Virgin Trains West Coast and Virgin Trains East Coast. First Group manages Great Western Railway, Hull Trains and Transpennine Express. Grand Central trains is open-access rail franchise unless it's managed by Abellio or First Group. And HS2 could also be open access franchise. MTR Corporation manages TfL/MTR Crossrail (TfL Rail (TfL Elizabeth Line)) and Crossrail 2.

Andrew Gwilt   25/01/2017 at 22:30

Not to mention that Abellio has sold 40% stake to be shared with Mitsu (Japanese rail company) for Greater Anglia (East Anglia rail franchise since Abellio extended it to 2025).

Kev   27/01/2017 at 14:19

great another foreign company running our railway much for british expertise and competition thought the railways in the UK were supposed to be run by british not the europeans

Andrew Gwilt   27/01/2017 at 17:38

I'm afraid that we are getting more investment from the foreign rail companies that are interested in taking over our own railway infrastructure since the UK has voted to leave the EU. As which it could of stop the foreign rail franchises from basically taking over the UK railway network even though we still are part of Europe. Abellio are from Netherlands who manages Scotland's Railway and East Anglia franchise. Govia are from France who have taken over the TSGN franchise. DB Arriva are from Netherlands or Germany as they taken over London Overground LOROL franchise (known as Arriva Rail London) as well operating Wales's Railway franchise. MTR Co are from China (who are managing London's Crossrail known as TfL Elizabeth Line). Interitalia are from Italy (who are taking over c2c Essex Thameside franchise). Mitsu are from Japan (who are sharing 40% stake with Abellio for the Greater Anglia franchise). British rail companies that still exist: National Express First Group Stagecoach Virgin Trains I might be mistaken.

Andrew Gwilt   27/01/2017 at 17:42

Trenitalia. Not Interitalia. Just in case some person called "Boris" or "David" starts mouthing off and blaming me for mistakes.

Jerry Alderson   31/01/2017 at 20:31

More than a decade ago the government sowed the seeds of foreign state-owned railways bidding for British franchises. (Yes, Connex was in from day one, but not many franchises were foreign owned.) The reason is that, in order to re-instate a form of cross-subsidy lost when BR was split, Alistair Darling introduced Cap and Collar thereby removing commercial freedom from TOCs. They have little ability to make money. Commerical companies, who are anserable to shareholders (who are competitive about where they invest), need better returns than the British rail market can offer, and they are nervous of the risks when making only a small return. State-owned railway companies only need a small return and have big enough pockets to bear the risk. They may also benefit for some synergy such as combining train orders as Abellio has done with GA as well as in the Netherlands re: Stadler FLIRTs.

Jon   01/02/2017 at 22:09

Andrew, National Express operate in Germany and are taking over the operation of various rail lines from DB. I don't see what your problem is with international business. We need all the trade we can get especially since Brexit has stifled our productivity and increased costs everywhere. Also, I think it's rather disgusting that you are smearing certain commenters' names.

Andrew Gwilt   03/02/2017 at 11:18

@Jon. Me smearing certain commenters' names. What a load of rubbish. Don't like my debate. Then ignore me then. Simples.

Ryan   05/02/2017 at 02:34

No, we don't need your opinions rammed down our throats.

Andrew Gwilt   10/02/2017 at 14:05

@Ryan. Dont like my opinions. Then ignore on what I say.

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