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Shortlist for East Anglia franchise revealed

The Department for Transport has shortlisted FirstGroup, National Express Group and a joint venture of Abellio and Stagecoach as the three bidders for the new East Anglia franchise. 

Having successfully passed the pre-qualification stage, the three companies – Abellio East Anglia Limited (a joint venture between Abellio 60% and Stagecoach 40%), First East Anglia Limited and National Express East Anglia Trains Limited – will now work with the government to develop their proposals before receiving the invitation to tender in August. 

The bidders will be required to submit plans by December 2015 to demonstrate how they will deliver transformation and growth for passengers across the East Anglia region. 

The successful franchisee will commence their operation of the franchise in October 2016. The East Anglia franchise, currently operated by Abellio Greater Anglia, carries 354,000 passengers a day on five routes across the region. 

EastAngliaFranchise map as of 31 May 2015 resize 635688375310924395

(East Anglia franchise 2015 map. Source: Rail Executive. Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0.)

Rail minister Claire Perry MP said: “We have ambitious plans for East Anglia’s rail network, and the successful bidder will be central to making these plans a reality. We want to find a partner who will help us meet the increasing demand for transport in the region by providing faster, more reliable journeys and better connections across the region and beyond. 

“We are investing record amounts in building a world-class railway as part of our long-term economic plan, and I am determined that passengers in East Anglia will benefit.” 

To pass the pre-qualification evaluation, each bidder had to prove they have the financial strength and legal, safety and operational experience to run this important franchise. 

Dominic Booth, managing director of Abellio UK, said: “As the existing operator of East Anglia this is fantastic news and represents a tremendous opportunity for Abellio and our partner Stagecoach. We eagerly await the publication of the Department for Transport requirements for the new franchise.” 

FirstGroup chief executive Tim O’Toole told RTM: “We have extensive experience of intercity, regional and commuter services, such as those that make up the East Anglia franchise, and we have a strong track record in delivering passenger growth as well as capacity and infrastructure upgrades on the franchises we run - First Great Western and First TransPennine Express. 

“We look forward to reviewing the East Anglia franchise contract details and submitting an innovative, compelling, and value for money bid which meets the needs of taxpayers as well as customers and businesses along the route.”

Some stations and routes that were previously part of the Greater Anglia franchise are now operated by TfL Rail and London Overground. 

tfl rail

David Sidebottom, passenger director at the independent watchdog Transport Focus (formerly Passenger Focus), said: “Passengers in East Anglia will be pleased that the process is moving on to find them a service for the long term. Like the rest of the country, their priorities are value for money, being able to get a seat and having frequent, reliable trains. For many, a key issue will also be to improve the quality and comfort of the trains.

“We will be able to see what the winning bidder promises and then monitor its performance against that via the new Customer Report. These documents are built into all new franchises thanks in part to our Passenger Power! campaign.”

Tell us what you think – have your say below or email [email protected]


Joel   03/06/2015 at 15:17

yet another 'joint-venture' where Stagecoach is a significant partner but the public would never know it. Why don't they want people to know they're involved?

Andrew Gwilt   05/06/2015 at 19:31

As Abellio Greater Anglia already given the metro routes to Transport for London including London Overground: Liverpool Street-Chestnut, Enfield Town and Chingford West Anglia metro routes and the Romford-Upminster line and TFL Rail: Liverpool Street-Shenfield metro route. Abellio Greater Anglia could be renamed back to just Greater Anglia if Abellio wins the bid as they be teaming up with Stagecoach. First Group if they could win the franchise then they could have the return of First Great Eastern or a new name known as First Eastern Trains. If National Express wins then National Express East Anglia will return or One Railway to return. But other organisations such as DB Arriva, Govia/Go Ahead, MTR Corporations and Virgin Trains teamed up with Stagecoach didnt get in to bid. If Virgin did get chosen to bid alongside Stagecoach then they be naming it Virgin Trains East Anglia just like they taken over the East Coast franchise as Virgin Trains East Coast early this year.

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