Thursday, 17 June 2010

Ministerial Statement on Franchising


My Department will shortly begin a consultation exercise on the future of rail franchising policy. This consultation will provide industry partners with the opportunity to comment on the Government’s approach to rail franchising and whether bidders for longer franchises would be able to offer investment in improvements to trains and services. It will also allow the industry to set out its proposals for improving the efficiency and value for money of rail franchises, for both taxpayers and fare payers. I will set out further details to the House in due course.

To enable the next Greater Anglia and Essex Thameside franchises - which are currently in the process of being re-let - to fully reflect the changes resulting from this review of policy the competitions for these franchises, which were started in January 2010, are to be cancelled.

It is currently expected that a new competition for the Greater Anglia franchise will be advertised by the end of the year, after the consultation responses have been considered, with the Essex Thameside franchise following in Autumn 2011.

So that's the formerly doomed National Express back in from the cold.

UPDATE: This from Sir Humphrey Beeching...

As with all ministerial statements the important bit is what is omitted.

So no reference to what is planned for nationalised East Coast.

Or for that matter the superfluous additional layer of bureaucracy that is Directly Operated Railways.

My departmental colleagues play a most amusing new game.

It is called 'What is the point of Elaine Holt?'.

Answers on a postcard please to Petrol-head c/o Marsham Street.

UPDATE: This from The Major...

Eye's cut and paste of Villiers' statement on franchising omits the final paragraph which talks about East Coast.

It doesn't say much of course... simply talking about "some consequent changes to the procurement timescales previously published".

I guess that means EC stays in state hands for longer.