Pos­si­ble two-year ex­ten­sion for ICWC fran­chise

Rail (UK) - - Network News -

The Di­rect Award for the In­ter­City West Coast (ICWC) fran­chise could last for 24 months, if an op­tion to ex­tend it is granted.

The De­part­ment for Trans­port an­nounced on Novem­ber 4 that the West Coast Part­ner­ship (WCP) deal would run ICWC ahead of the planned in­tro­duc­tion of HS2, and would also run the first four years of the new rail­way ( RAIL 814). WCP is due to start in 2019, which meant that a DA was re­quired for the planned 12-month gap.

On De­cem­ber 6, DfT is­sued a short-term con­tract in­for­ma­tion no­tice that stated: “The term of the con­tract shall be formed of both a core pe­riod of April 1 2018 to April 1 2019 plus an op­tional ex­ten­sion, callable by the Sec­re­tary of State, of a max­i­mum 13 ad­di­tional re­port­ing pe­ri­ods.”

Within the deal, the op­er­a­tor of the ICWC Di­rect Award must:

Im­prove the pas­sen­ger ex­pe­ri­ence as mea­sured by the Na­tional Rail Pas­sen­ger Sur­vey.

Se­cure spe­cific re­quire­ments that are now De­part­men­tal pol­icy, in­clud­ing free WiFi, smart-based tick­et­ing op­tions and De­lay Re­pay. Im­prove PPM per­for­mance. En­sure obli­ga­tions to co-op­er­ate with any fu­ture West Coast Part­ner­ship fran­chisee, the DfT, Net­work Rail, HS2 Ltd and in­dus­try groups in plan­ning and prepa­ra­tion of ser­vices and works for HS2, to min­imise dis­rup­tion to pas­sen­gers us­ing ICWC con­tin­u­a­tion ser­vices.

Main­tain and de­velop ex­ist­ing joint work­ing ini­tia­tives.

It states that the deal will start on April 1 2018 and last 24 months.

The cur­rent ICWC fran­chise started on June 22 2014 and is op­er­ated by Vir­gin Rail Group (a joint ven­ture with Stage­coach Group and Vir­gin). It is due to end at 0159 on April 1 2018. The cur­rent deal has al­ready been ex­tended for a year from April 1 2017.

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