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Thursday 12 October, 2000

Shadow StrategicRail

New Wessex Franchise

Shadow Strategic Rail Authority
12 October 2000


Building a Better Railway: 
Waterloo - Exeter Line included in New Wessex Franchise 
 
Development of services and investment in the London Waterloo to Exeter line
is the rationale behind the sSRA's decision today to include the route within
the new Wessex Rail franchise, full details of which are expected to be
announced next month. The decision has been made after reviewing a report by
consultants commissioned by the sSRA. 
 
Mike Grant, Franchising Director and Chief Executive of the sSRA said: 
 
'The Waterloo to Exeter service will not be included in the replacement South
West Trains franchise but in a new Wessex franchise. I believe this will best
serve the interests of passengers. 
 
'The option was left open when counterparties were invited to bid for the
South West Trains replacement franchise in March. I repeated this when a new
Wessex franchise was proposed by the sSRA as part of the franchise map
unveiled in June. 
 
'This route's capacity has suffered from a lack of investment over the years,
particularly since it was reduced in places to single track. This has
severely limited service frequencies west of Salisbury. The needs of
passengers on the route west are distinct from those on the commuter
dominated South West Trains franchise, and demand is growing rapidly. Hence
our decision to separate out these services. It is also strategically
important as an alternative to the main route operated from Paddington.'. 
Notes to Editors 
 
1. The new Wessex franchise will also incorporate services currently
continued past Exeter by SWT to Paignton, and services between Reading and
Portsmouth/Brighton, using similar diesel rolling stock.

2. Full details of new franchises throughout the country are contained in
sSRA press release 'Sir Alastair Morton sets out map for UK Rail' issued on
20 June. 
 
3. A study into the implications for the franchising of services in the
West of England has been undertaken by Gibb Rail for the sSRA.

4. The sSRA announced on August 17th that three companies had been
shortlisted for the new South West Trains franchise, namely Stagecoach
Holdings plc, GNER Holdings Limited and First Group plc in association with
Nederlandse Spoorwegen (Dutch Railways).  
 
Important Notice 
 
This news release is issued by the Franchising Director and its contents have
been approved for the purposes of section 57 of the Financial Services Act
1986 by KPMG Corporate Finance. 
 
KPMG Corporate Finance is a division of KPMG which is authorised to carry on
investment business by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and
Wales. This news release has been prepared for general information purposes
only and is not intended to form the basis of any investment decision or
constitute an offer or invitation to bid for any passenger rail franchise or
to acquire shares in a train operating company. Neither this news release nor
any copy of it should be taken into or distributed in Canada, France, Japan
or the United States except in accordance with an applicable exemption. The
distribution of this news release in other jurisdictions may be restricted by
law and therefore persons into whose possession this news release comes
should inform themselves about and observe any such restrictions. 
 
KPMG Corporate Finance is acting for the Franchising Director and will not
regard any other person as its client in relation to passenger railway
franchising or be responsible to anyone other than the Franchising Director
for providing the protections afforded to clients of KPMG Corporate Finance
nor for advising any other person on the contents of this news release or any
matter referred to in it.  
 
Media Enquiries: sSRA Press Office 020 7654 6339/6294/6234/6387 
 
Further information and announcements by the SSRA are contained on our
website: www.sra.gov.uk 




                                                                                
                           

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