Stagecoach Group plc (“Stagecoach”) is pleased to confirm that it has been shortlisted by the Department for Transport (“DfT”) to bid for the Great Western and Thameslink passenger rail franchises.
The new 15-year Great Western passenger rail franchise is due to commence in April 2013. It will provide long distance, commuter, regional and branch line train services from London Paddington to the Midlands, Cotswolds, South Wales and West of England, the South Coast, Devon and Cornwall and Gatwick airport. Great Western’s Heathrow Connect services are expected to transfer to the separate Crossrail franchise in May 2018. The full Crossrail service is expected to operate to Heathrow and Maidenhead by December 2019, replacing most of the current suburban services provided to and from Paddington.
The Thameslink passenger rail franchise is expected to start in September 2013. It will be for a minimum of seven years, with a potential extension of up to two years. The franchise will initially include train services between London, Brighton, Bedford, Peterborough, Cambridge and King’s Lynn. Between April and December 2014, it will take on Southeastern’s existing services on the Thameslink route. At some point between July 2014 and July 2017, the franchise will be expanded to include all of the current Southern services in south London, between central London and the South coast, through East and West Sussex, Surrey and parts of Kent and Hampshire.
A Stagecoach Group spokesman said: “We are pleased to have been successful in being short-listed for the Great Western and Thameslink rail franchises. We now look forward to receiving the DfT’s final and detailed Invitation to Tender documentation, which will confirm the Government’s key requirements for the franchises. Our bids will be firmly focused on delivering better services for passengers, value for money for taxpayers and the right risk-reward profile for our shareholders.”