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Friday 30 January, 2004

National Express

Re Greater Anglia franchise

National Express Group PLC
30 January 2004



For immediate release on Friday 30 January 2004


                          National Express Group PLC

             National Express Group signs Greater Anglia franchise


National Express Group PLC ('the Group'), the leading international passenger
transport company and the UK's leading train operator, has today signed a
franchise agreement with the Strategic Rail Authority ('SRA') to operate the new
Greater Anglia franchise.


The Greater Anglia franchise, which combines the existing Anglia and Great
Eastern franchises, and the West Anglia (Liverpool Street) services from the
Wagn franchise (including Stansted Express), marks the introduction of the first
of the new franchise template agreements which provide improved service quality
standards by which the operator's performance will be monitored.


The Greater Anglia franchise will commence from April 2004.  It will run for
seven years with an automatic extension of three years, subject to the
achievement of performance and service quality targets set by the SRA. The
combined passenger revenue turnover of the Greater Anglia franchise in its first
full year of operation is anticipated to be approximately £375 million.


As part of the award, National Express Group has given the following
commitments;


•         £11.3 million investment in station improvements with over 50 of the
250 stations being upgraded within 18 months.  Refurbishments will include
improved booking office facilities, new customer information systems and CCTV at
selected stations;

•         the opening of a new Customer Service Academy in the region providing
a dedicated training facility for all employees of the Greater Anglia franchise
focusing on continuous improvements in customer service;

•         adjustment to the existing timetabled services with more regular
connections to key locations, including through services between Liverpool
Street and both Peterborough and Lowestoft via Ipswich to be introduced from
December 2004. In addition the introduction of a new and improved timetable from
December 2005 including new services between Stansted Airport and Stratford,
Hertford East and Stratford;

•         more than 100 sets of four-car rolling stock units to be refurbished
before December 2006. Refurbishment features will include CCTV on trains, new
passenger information systems and an improved ambience;

•         the replacement of existing coaches on the London to Norwich service
with refurbished Mark 3 intercity coaches and technical modifications to the
existing rolling stock to improve reliability;

•         London to Norwich trains will continue to offer catering facilities
from on-board kitchens;

•         the appointment of an integrated management team for the Greater
Anglia franchise with the creation of separate business units to give dedicated
attention to specific services such as rural and airport services.  New business
route directors will be fully accountable for achieving a continuous improvement
in service delivery;

•         the appointment of a Customer Service Director for the region to
oversee the delivery of customer benefits within the franchise as well as the
appointment of a quality audit team to monitor standards;

•         the recruitment of 40 additional customer facing roles at stations and
on trains improving communication with passengers;

•         a new brand for services within the Greater Anglia region to be
launched, following consultation with key stakeholders.


Commenting on the SRA's announcement Phil White, Chief Executive, National
Express Group said:


'We are pleased to have reached agreement with the SRA on the terms of the
franchise. This win is yet another demonstration of the Group's commitment to
the rail industry.


'We believe the initiatives we have developed in consultation with stakeholders,
combined with our experience in running the mix of rural, intercity, airport and
commuter services which make up this franchise, will enhance existing services
in east London and the east of England.



'This is the first franchise to be awarded under the SRA's new template
agreement and our priority will be to deliver the punctuality and reliability
improvements that the SRA and the public expect.  We aim to raise the general
standard of services across the east of England. The new timetable, due to be
phased in from December 2004, coupled with the timetabling efficiencies we have
developed will mean passengers will benefit from a single operator operating out
of Liverpool Street station.



'We now have two months to prepare for the launch of the franchise in April
2004.  During this time we will be working with the incumbent operators on these
services to facilitate a smooth transition for both passengers and our future
employees whom we welcome to the Group.  We look forward to working closely with
all key stakeholders including employees, unions and suppliers in the
integration process.'



Welcoming today's announcement Nicola Shaw, the SRA's Managing Director,
Operations, said:



'We look forward to working with National Express as they begin operating this
new - style franchise. Passengers can know that this deal secures a focus on the
basics of punctuality, information, cleanliness and security - alongside some
significant improvements, including newer trains and improved stations'.



                                   - ENDS -



For further information, please contact:


Adam Walker, Finance Director (analysts)
National Express Group PLC                           020 7529 2000

Nicola Marsden/Fiona Noblet (media)
National Express Group PLC                           020 7529 2036/38



Notes to Editors


•         The National Express Group was named preferred bidder for the Greater
Anglia franchise on 23 December 2003.

•         National Express Group is the UK's largest train operating company
owning group.  It already operates eight rail franchises; c2c, Central Trains,
Gatwick Express, Midland Mainline, ScotRail, Silverlink, Wessex Trains and  Wagn
(including Stansted Express).

•         The Greater Anglia region currently comprises 10% of the UK rail
market with 100 million passenger journeys made each year.


                      This information is provided by RNS
            The company news service from the London Stock Exchange