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Monday 02 April, 2001

Strategic Rail Auth

SRA and Chiltern Benefits

Strategic Rail Authority
2 April 2001


SRA Acts to Ensure Early Benefits for Chiltern


New trains, more car parking and bus/rail integration are in a package of
improvements on the Chiltern franchise announced today by the Strategic Rail
Authority (SRA).


The SRA has acted to bring in the benefits, planned as part of a new franchise
agreement being negotiated with Chiltern Railways, to ensure that passenger
benefits do not have to wait for the new 20 year contract to be finalised.


The sSRA announced in August 2000 that it had signed a 'Heads of Terms'
agreement with current Chiltern owners M40 Trains, for a new 20 year franchise.
  Progress towards signing the final contract has been delayed by the need for
Railtrack to carry out further development work and provide detailed cost
estimates for the proposed infrastructure upgrades.


Today's agreement secures the following passenger benefits for the year 
2001/02:


*        The ordering of an additional seven coaches to cater for growth.

*        Provision of an additional 580 parking spaces through extensions of 7
         station car parks.

*        Extension of some peak London to Birmingham services to Stourbridge
         Junction from May 2001.

*        Improved bus/rail integration at Bicester and Solihull/Dorridge.

*        Improved representation for stakeholders (grants for user groups and
         introduction of an Advisory Board).

*        Tougher incentive regimes for performance and higher standard
         requirements for customer satisfaction.

*        Development work to continue on infrastructure upgrades along the
         route.

*        Development work to continue on plans to upgrade High Wycombe station,
         provide level access to all Chiltern stations, and improve passenger
         information and security.



SRA Chief Executive Mike Grant said,


'Today's announcement is good news for Chiltern passengers, who will soon see
the first benefits of the franchise replacement process with improvements to
their service.  The SRA intends to sign a new long term franchise contract with
M40 Trains as soon as possible, but today's announcement means that the early
benefits of that new contract will remain on schedule'.


The deal has been set out in a new Deed of Amendment to the existing seven year
franchise.  In order to assist in the implementation of service improvements,
support levels due to be paid under the new franchise contract have been
brought forward for inclusion under the current agreement.  A one-off payment
is being made to Chiltern of £2.4million for 2000/01; the total additional
subsidy for the year 2001/02 will be £5.1million.  These payments are in line
with those agreed at the time of signing Heads of Terms.


Notes to Editors


1.             Chiltern Railways operate services throughout the M40 corridor
               between London and Birmingham, and local services between        
               Aylesbury and London.


2.             The current seven year franchise with M40 Trains expires in July
               2003.


3.             M40 Trains is a subsidiary of John Laing plc.


  For media enquiries please contact the press office on 0207 654 6339/ 6234/
                 6387. Or visit the website on www.sra.gov.uk


                 Chiltern Railways Press Office: 020 7333 3032


                               Important Notice


This news release is issued by the Strategic Rail Authority 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 Strategic Rail Authority  and will not
regard any other person as its client in relation to passenger railway
franchising or be responsible to anyone other than the Strategic Rail Authority
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.




                                                                                
                                                  

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