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Friday 13 February, 2004

Strategic Rail Auth

Three franchise extensions

Strategic Rail Authority
13 February 2004


                                                                                                       13 February 2004
                                         Franchising Programme Continues Apace



The SRA has signed two-year extensions for three rail franchises that will deliver stability until new model franchises
start operating in April 2006.



The Authority has signed a two-year extension with incumbent franchisee National Express Group PLC to operate the
Wessex Trains and the Great Northern part of WAGN passenger franchises, and has signed a two-year extension with
incumbent franchisee GOVIA Ltd to operate the Thameslink passenger franchise.  The current franchises for Wessex
Trains, Great Northern and Thameslink will be extended from 1 April 2004 to 31 March 2006.



•        The Wessex and Great Northern franchise extensions will ensure the continuation of current service levels and
a commitment to work with the Authority to improve performance.



•        The Thameslink franchise extension provides continuity during a period of major works that will facilitate
construction of a 'box' accommodating the future St Pancras Midland Road station.



•        From April 2006, services operated under the Wessex Trains franchise will be combined with Great Western and
Thames Trains services to form part of a new 'Greater Western' franchise.



Notes to Editors



1.      The subsidy payments for the two-year Wessex extension will be circa £71m in 2004/05, an increase of £0.4m
compared to 2003/04 levels and £71.5m in 2005/06, an increase of £0.9m compared to 2003/04 levels.



2.      The subsidy payments for the two-year Great Northern extension will be circa £18.8m in 2004/05, a reduction of
£6.4m compared to 2003/04 levels and £19.4m in 2005/06, a reduction of £5.8m compared to 2003/04 levels.









3.      Thameslink will pay the SRA a premium of circa £41.2m in 2004/05 and £42.0m in 2005/06.  Compared on a
equivalent basis, taking into account regulatory adjustments, this represents an increase over the premium for 2003/04
of £0.2m in 2004/05 and £1.8m in 2005/06.



4.      The Great Northern part of the WAGN franchise will be extended from 1 April 2004 to 31 March 2006.  West Anglia
services will be operated under the new Greater Anglia franchise upon its commencement, planned for 1 April 2004.



5.      The Thameslink 2000 infrastructure project will deliver significantly enhanced capacity through central London.
  The SRA and Network Rail are currently seeking to resolve issues relating to the Transport & Works Act Order
application for this project, to enable it to proceed as quickly as possible.





For further details contact the SRA Press Office on 020 7654 6339 / 6862 / 6234 / 6387

                                        Or visit the website at www.sra.gov.uk






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