Min­is­ter ad­mits South­east­ern de­lay

Rail (UK) - - News -

Rail Min­is­ter An­drew Jones ad­mit­ted on Novem­ber 27 to fur­ther de­lays in an­nounc­ing who has won the right to op­er­ate the next South­east­ern fran­chise.

He told a West­min­ster Hall de­bate that the an­nounce­ment would now come in the new year, adding: “The rea­son for the de­lay is that the eval­u­a­tion of the agree­ment for the next fran­chise has taken longer than an­tic­i­pated be­cause we wanted to en­sure that pas­sen­gers get the best deal pos­si­ble.”

When the De­part­ment for Trans­port in­vited Abel­lio, Stage­coach and in­cum­bent Govia to bid for the fran­chise last Novem­ber, it said the win­ner would start run­ning trains on April 1 2019.

It in­vited Tren­i­talia to bid, but the com­pany dropped out to con­cen­trate on its West Coast bid with First, which was sub­mit­ted last sum­mer.

Since bid­ding, Govia’s GTR chief ex­ec­u­tive quit fol­low­ing the col­lapse of Thames­link ser­vices last May, Stage­coach handed back its Vir­gin Trains East Coast fran­chise fol­low­ing fi­nan­cial prob­lems, and Abel­lio has been draw­ing down par­ent com­pany sup­port for its East Anglian op­er­a­tion.

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