Bidders shortlisted for West Coast Partnership and South Eastern franchises

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The UK’s Department for Transport (DfT) has published bidder shortlists for both the West Coast Partnership (WCP), which will incorporate the first HS2 services, and future South Eastern franchise agreements.

The WCP will replace the current InterCity West Coast franchise operated by Virgin and Stagecoach from April 2019. As well as the existing intercity service, it will include the first services for HS2 between London and Birmingham from 2026.

Stagecoach and Trenitalia are the only companies to be included in both shortlists, either as standalone bidders or as part of a joint venture.

The shortlist for the WCP includes:

  • 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, plus the following sub-contractors:
    – Deloitte MCS Ltd
    – Panasonic Systems Europe
    – Snowfall AB
    – Ltd
    – WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff
  • West Coast Partnership Ltd, a joint venture between Stagecoach Group plc, Virgin Holdings Ltd and SNCF C3

In a written statement to parliament, rail minister Paul Maynard said in a statement: “The WCP will support growth and better services on the West Coast Main Line while helping to ensure HS2 becomes the backbone of Britain’s future railways.

“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.”

On the South Eastern route, Maynard said the new franchise would focus on improving reliability through closer working with Network Rail, better customer service and an improved compensation and smart ticketing provision.

The South Eastern shortlist includes:

  • South Eastern Railways Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of Abellio Transport Group Ltd. if awarded the franchise, it would become a subsidiary of South Eastern Holdings Ltd, a joint venture between Abellio and the consortium of 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

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  1. Trenitalia might take over the West Coast franchise or if not then they could take over the Southeastern franchise. Abellio is another bidder who are willing to take over one of those franchises along with East Japan Railways and Mitsui. Stagecoach could take over the West Coast franchise because they have already managed to operate the SW franchise in which they are about to lose it to First MTR from August. And are to lose the East Midlands franchise at some time unless Stagecoach can hold on to the EM franchise for 9-10 years.

    It depends who will win the West Coast franchise or Southeastern franchise.

    • As you say Andrew, any of the shortlisted bidders has a chance of winning these franchises. We’ll just have to wait and see.


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