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Thursday 08 July, 2004

Strategic Rail Auth

East Coast Franchise Response

Strategic Rail Authority
08 July 2004

                                                                                                          8th July 2004

                                            Intercity East Coast Franchise

                      SRA response to Virgin Group/Stagecoach Group/Deutsche Bahn joint statement

The SRA runs - and Virgin and Stagecoach have agreed this to be so - a transparent franchising process and the
requirements for all entrants - whether an existing franchisee or new entrant, whether a UK company or not - are the
same for everyone. They are fair and open. The requirements for the InterCity East Coast Franchise (ICEC) were
stipulated clearly, in advance, to all bidders including Virgin, Stagecoach and Deutsche Bahn.

The SRA rejects any suggestion that the structure of UK rail franchising generally - or the competition for ICEC
specifically - prevented anyone from pre-qualifying for - or completing a satisfactory joint venture framework - and
receiving an Invitation To Tender. We are particularly pleased when new entrants apply successfully, as has been the
case in a number of recent franchise bids.

The interest of taxpayers and passengers is best served by strong competition within a clear and stable framework. This
will continue to be the case.

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

                      This information is provided by RNS
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