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Wednesday 06 November, 2002

Strategic Rail Auth

Preferred Bidders for TPE

Strategic Rail Authority
06 November 2002




                                Preferred Bidders Announced for TransPennine Express


      The Strategic Rail Authority (SRA) has invited two bidders, Connex Transport UK Ltd and First Group/
      Keolis SA to move to the final stage of the replacement process for the TransPennine Express franchise.

      The new franchise has been created to meet the demand for fast, high quality passenger rail services on
      longer journeys between major towns and cities across the North of England.  It has been developed by the
      SRA in consultation with five local Passenger Transport Executives (PTEs).  The SRA anticipates
      announcing the preferred bidder early in the New Year.

      The SRA is also developing proposals for a Northern Rail franchise incorporating rural and urban services
      currently operated within the existing Arriva Trains Northern and First North Western networks.  The SRA
      will be restarting the competition for Northern Rail in order to incorporate the benefits of its new
      franchising policy announced today, and to enable potential new bidders to express an interest in the
      franchise.

      The SRA will open negotiations with current operator Arriva Trains Northern on an interim franchise to
      operate services until the TransPennine franchise commences in late 2003 and Northern Rail franchises
      commences in the summer of 2004.

      Richard Bowker, SRA Chairman, says:

      'Today's initiatives bring stability and clarity for passengers in the north of England and the
      TransPennine franchise will deliver a new generation of fast frequent and high quality services between
      key northern destinations.'


Notes to Editors

1.    The franchise term for the TransPennine Express franchise will be for eight years with the option to
      extend for five years at the discretion of the SRA.

2.    The TransPennine Express franchise will serve the regions of five PTEs: Greater Manchester, Merseyside
      (Merseytravel), Tyne & Wear (Nexus), South Yorkshire and West Yorkshire.

3.    The Secretary of State for Transport gave a direction under Section 26 of the Railways Act 1993 on 12th
      September 2002 to proceed with the next stage of awarding the TPE franchise leading to the selection of a
      preferred bidder.

4.    The previously shortlisted parties for franchise were Arriva plc, Connex Transport UK Ltd; and a
      consortium of Keolis SA and First Group plc.

5.    The Secretary of State for Transport today gave direction, in accordance with Section 26a of the
      Railways Act 1993, to enable the negotiation of an Interim Franchise with ATN to ensure the continuation of the
      provision of services until the TPE franchise commences in late 2003 and the Northern Rail franchise sometime
      in Summer 2004.  The current Arriva Trains Northern Franchise expires in February 2003.


Media Enquiries: SRA Press Office 020 7654 6339/6387/6234



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