Shortlist announced for the new West Coast Partnership and the South Eastern rail franchises
Posted: 23 June 2017 | | No comments yet
The government has announced the shortlist for the new West Coast Partnership (WCP) rail franchise and the next South Eastern franchises.
The government has announced the names of the companies in the running for the new West Coast Partnership (WCP) rail and the next South Eastern franchises.
Passenger numbers have more than doubled since the privatisation of the railways 20 years ago and the UK’s railways need to adapt and change to be able to cope with this and future demands. The government has said it “is committed to revolutionising our railways through innovation and investment to transform passengers’ experiences and ensure our railways work for everyone.”
West Coast Partnership franchise
The winner of the WCP franchise will be expected to work with HS2 Ltd to launch the first services on HS2, taking advantage of the extra space it will provide for commuters on the West Coast Main Line.
The shortlist contains bidding consortia which sees UK rail network experts working in partnership with companies that operate high speed railways around the globe, supported by businesses which have an excellent track record in customer services.
These companies are:
- First Trenitalia West Coast Ltd, a joint venture between First Rail Holdings Ltd and Trenitalia SpA
- MTR West Coast Partnership Ltd, a joint venture between MTR Corporation (UK) Ltd and Guangshen Railway Company, with the following key sub-contractors:
– Deloitte MCS Ltd
– Panasonic Systems Europe
– Snowfall AB
– Trainline.com Ltd
– WSP Parsons Brinkerhoff
- West Coast Partnership Ltd, a joint venture between Stagecoach Group plc, Virgin Holdings Ltd and SNCF C3.
The WCP will be responsible for services on the West Coast Main Line from April 2019 and will design and run the initial HS2 high speed services between London and Birmingham from 2026.
“The West Coast Partnership will support growth and better services on the West Coast Main Line while helping to ensure that HS2 becomes the backbone of Britain’s railways,” said Transport Secretary Chris Grayling. “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. I look forward to seeing the bidders’ innovative ideas to put passengers at the heart of the railway.”
The winning bidder will collaborate with HS2 Ltd to design, launch and operate the initial HS2 services and deliver the transition of the timetable on the West Coast Main Line as it is revised to take advantage of the extra capacity provided by HS2.
“We are well positioned with our partner to develop a completely new customer proposition”
“FirstGroup, with our partner Trenitalia, will bid for the upcoming West Coast Partnership,” added Steve Montgomery, First Rail Managing Director “We are well positioned with our partner 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.”
The new operator will also be expected to work closely with local transport authorities, Transport Scotland and the Welsh government to ensure passengers receive the excellent experience they demand from the West Coast Main Line.
Commenting further, Barbara Morgante, CEO of Trenitalia, said: “Trenitalia will bring FS Italiane Group’s industry-leading high-speed rail knowledge to the West Coast Partnership. Since our acquisition of the c2c franchise, we have overseen a significant improvement in the network’s performance and we are now looking forward to bringing this experience to the wider UK market. We believe that the UK rail market provides an excellent opportunity for the group to leverage its experience accrued in the highly competitive Italian market.”
The South Eastern franchise
The winner of the South Eastern franchise will need to work as one team with Network Rail to ensure passengers experience better journeys and provide longer trains with more space.
The companies which want to run the next South Eastern franchise are:
- South Eastern Holdings Ltd, a joint venture company that on franchise award will be wholly owned by Abellio Transport Group Ltd and East Japan Railway Company and Mitsui & Co Ltd
- London and South East Passenger Rail Services Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of Govia Ltd
- Stagecoach South Eastern Trains Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of Stagecoach Group plc
- Trenitalia UK Ltd, wholly owned by Trenitalia SpA.
“We will listen to what passengers say in the current public consultation”
“South Eastern is one of the busiest franchises in the UK, running almost 2,000 services every weekday,” said Mr Grayling. “We want passengers to be at the heart of everything that the new operator does, enjoying modern, spacious trains on a more punctual and reliable service. We will listen to what passengers say in the current public consultation, and we will seek to make changes and improvements only with their support.”
The Secretary of State’s ambitions for the franchise include creating more space for passengers on modern comfortable trains; increasing the reliability of trains by using the latest technology; improving passenger compensation arrangements and supporting smart ticketing; and improving customer service.