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Monday 03 February, 2003

Strategic Rail Auth

Agreement reached for Mersey

Strategic Rail Authority
03 February 2003

                                                                 3 February 2003


     SRA Announces Agreement for Merseyrail Electrics


The Strategic Rail Authority (SRA) today announced that an agreement has been
reached with Arriva Trains Merseyside to run services for an interim period
following the end of the existing franchise, which expires on the 2 February
2003.


The agreement will run until 20 July 2003 when it is intended that the contract
letting and management responsibilities will be transferred from the SRA to
Merseyside Passenger Transport Executive (MPTE).  It will also enable the SRA
and MPTE to complete the competitive process to select an operator for the new
contract.


The SRA and MPTE are currently evaluating the best and final offers of the three
shortlisted bidders announced in October 2002 and will look to announce the
successful candidate in the Spring.


Nick Newton, SRA's Managing Director, Operations said:


'We are pleased to have reached agreement with Arriva which will facilitate a
smooth transition to the new franchise. We are looking forward to completing the
bidding process shortly in time for the start of the new contract in July.'



Notes to Editors


1.      The SRA announced on 1 October 2002 that they have short-listed three
bidders for the new contract: Keolis SA (subsequently joined by GB Railways),
Serco Ltd/NS Dutch Railways and TRANSDEV Plc/RATP International.


2.      The Merseyrail Electrics franchise includes passenger rail services
between Liverpool and Southport, Ormskirk, Kirkby, Hunts Cross, New Brighton,
West Kirby, Chester and Ellesmere Port.  The services, the greater part of which
are supported by, and operate to, the specification of Merseytravel, are
currently operated by Arriva Trains Merseyside. The self contained nature of the
network, the services and the market it serves means that the Merseyrail
Electrics network is uniquely suited to greater local control and
accountability.  As no other network has these unique attributes there are no
plans to transfer responsibilities for other franchises to local Passenger
Transport Executives



                    SRA Press Office: 020 7654 6339/ 6234 / 6387
                               Website: www.sra.gov.uk




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