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National Express (NEX)

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Tuesday 14 August, 2007

National Express

ICEC Rail franchise

National Express Group PLC
14 August 2007


                           National Express Group PLC
         National Express Group Awarded InterCity East Coast Franchise

National Express Group PLC ('the Group'), a leading international passenger
transport company and the UK's best performing train operator, has today been
awarded the franchise agreement by the Department for Transport ('DfT') to
operate the new InterCity East Coast franchise.

The franchise will commence on 9 December 2007 and will run until 31 March 2015
with the last seventeen months being dependent on meeting set performance
targets. The franchise is expected to generate total annual revenue of £600
million in its first full year and £1.4 billion (net present value) over the
life of the franchise in premium payments to the DfT.

National Express Group Chief Executive, Richard Bowker said: 'We are absolutely
delighted that we have won the UK's premier intercity railway. We have won with
a bid which is ambitious, deliverable and structured to generate shareholder
value.

'Our combined strengths of industry leading operational performance and
excellent customer service give us confidence that we will be able to grow the
business and increase the number of passengers by providing a service that is
value for money and aimed at making travel simpler.

'We have an exciting package of innovation and investment aimed at making these
services attractive to many more people. We will offer improved reliability,
more trains and seats, easier ways to purchase tickets and an updated catering
offer. Our plans have been developed through close consultation with a wide
range of stakeholders. We look forward to working with them to deliver a truly
world class railway.'

The new franchise, which is the arterial North-South rail route linking London
with Scotland via Peterborough, Leeds, Doncaster, York, Newcastle, Edinburgh,
Aberdeen and Inverness, will be called National Express East Coast.

                                     -ENDS-


For further information, please contact:

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

Richard Bowker/ Nicola Marsden/ Alison Flynn (media)
National Express Group PLC                                 020 7529 2000

Suzanne Bartch/ Brian Hudspith
Maitland                                                   020 7379 5151


• There will be a conference call for research analysts and investors at 09:00 
  (BST) today, 14 August 2007. For details please contact Rebecca Mitchell at 
  Maitland on +44 20 7379 5151.


Notes to Editors

The franchise will deliver the following improvements and investments for
customers, employees and stakeholders during the franchise term:

Industry leading punctuality and reliability

Working with Network Rail and the Office of Rail Regulation,the franchise will
aim to deliver:

• A step change in performance improvement, the benefits which will start to be 
  seen quickly, increasing to an expected 90.1% PPM (MAA) by January 2010;
• From December 2010, faster journey times - London to Leeds in 2 hours, London 
  to York in 1 hour 45 minutes;
• Reduced average journey times between London and Edinburgh with several trains 
  in each direction taking less than 4 hours 20 minutes.

World class customer service

• Free WiFi service will be extended to the whole train, not just first class;
• From March 2009, a state-of-the-art website providing a 'one-stop shop' for 
  entire journeys where specific seats can be reserved online and information on 
  how to reserve car parking and book onward travel is available;
• For the first time an offer to customers, who have pre-booked tickets and have 
  a seat reservation, to provide a refund for the fare for the journey if a seat 
  is not available;
• Mobile phone real-time travel information;
• Car parking by mobile phone, using a system which will remember payment 
  details and car registration;
• Print at home tickets and m-tickets via mobile phone;
• An updated catering offer combining the best of traditional service with
  contemporary food which will be available to first class and all standard
  class passengers through an at-seat service;
• Introduction of Smartcard technology to make buying tickets much simpler.

New services, increased capacity and fleet improvements

Working with Network Rail and the Office of Rail Regulation,the franchise will
aim to deliver:

• A new two-hourly direct Lincoln-London service;
• An extra train to York, giving a two-hourly service throughout the day to York 
  and providing an improved service and better connections at intermediate 
  stations;
• £24 million investment in rolling stock; including a refurbished fleet of 
  extra trains in operation from December 2010;
• From December 2010 a provision for up to 25 extra services which would deliver 
  an additional 14,000 extra seats each day;
• An increase in the number of weekday trains from 136 to 161 from December 
  2010;
• The installation of CCTV on the existing fleet of trains (IC225 and HST 
  trains) for improved personal security.

Station enhancements and security

• £7.4 million investment in station upgrades to provide improved facilities 
  including waiting rooms and electronic real-time information points;
• £560,000 spent on 80 CCTV cameras for stations;
• £2 million on providing up to 33% more car parking spaces during the franchise
  term;
• Electronic information 'totem poles' and electronic posters at stations to 
  communicate real-time information on train performance, incidents and future 
  engineering works;
• £8 million on station gating schemes including automatic ticket gates at
  eight stations.

Fares and ticketing

• Regulated fares increases of an average of RPI +1%;
• Unregulated fares increases at an average of RPI +2.1%;
• A new ticketing system that matches demand to capacity and offer customers a 
  simplified fares structure, giving them the best possible value fares.

A responsible approach to the environment

• A reduction in fuel consumption per passenger kilometre by 28% over the
  franchise term;
• Faster journey times, industry leading performance and world class customer 
  service making the train an attractive and compelling alternative to air and 
  car;
• The introduction of the 'Carbon Club' travel incentive scheme that will
  encourage repeat travel on public transport by rewarding individual rail
  customers for making choices that are more environmentally sustainable;
• A focus on environmental initiatives at depots, stations and offices to
  conserve more, recycle more and waste less.

Successful relationships with stakeholders and employees

• National Express East Coast headquartered in York;
• Investment in our people through training, development and life-long learning;
• Continued relationship building with local stakeholders.







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