18 October 2005
CENTRAL TRAINS FRANCHISE REMAPPING
THE DEPARTMENT FOR TRANSPORT has today announced a new structure of rail
franchises, to be implemented following the expiry of the current Central Trains
The new franchise map will see:
Three new franchises replacing four existing franchises.
An East Midlands franchise being created. This will operate services to and from
London St Pancras together with regional and local services in the East Midlands
A West Midlands franchise being created. This will operate the West Coast Main
Line outer suburban services to and from London Euston (currently operated by
Silverlink County) together with regional and local services in the West
A new Cross County franchise being created. The existing franchise, operated by
Virgin Rail Group under a "letter agreement" with the Department, will be re-let
in Autumn 2007.
The expiry dates of the current Central Trains and Silverlink franchises will be
extended to Autumn 2007. This allows time for the development of detailed
specifications for the new franchises and for full competitive procurement to
There will be an option to transfer the Liverpool to Nottingham service to the
TransPennine Express franchise if this demonstrates better value for money.
There will also be an option to transfer the services to and from Birmingham
Snow Hill to Chiltern Railways, if this, too, can demonstrate better value for
Discussions are still taking place on the possible transfer to Transport for
London of the London inner-suburban services operated by Silverlink Metro and no
final decision has been made.
The new franchise map is designed to increase the efficiency and performance of
the railways, improving services for passengers. Working from these aims, in
consultation with the rail industry, a wide range of options was considered
before the final decision was made.
Notes to editor
1. The DfT's Future of Rail White Paper, published in July 2004, announced our
intention to consider how rail passenger franchises could be best aligned with
NR's regional and route structure.
2. On October 19, 2004, the Secretary of State announced that following expiry
of the current Central Trains franchise, existing services would be distributed
among other train operators in the region
3. For further details about this announcement, please go to
Press Enquires: 020 7944 3108
Public Enquiries: 020 7944 8300
Department for Transport Website: http://www.dft.gov.uk