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Tuesday 01 October, 2002

Strategic Rail Auth

Three bidders for Merseyrail

Strategic Rail Authority
01 October 2002

                                                                1st October 2002

                    Three New Bidders Shortlisted for Merseyrail

The Strategic Rail Authority (SRA) and Merseytravel Passenger Transport
Executive today announced that they have short-listed three bidders for the
Merseyrail Electrics contract to operate local passenger train services in the
Merseyside area. The new contract will follow the expiry of the current Arriva
Trains Merseyside franchise next year. The parties shortlisted, who are all new
to the UK heavy rail market, are:

• Keolis SA

• Serco Ltd/NS Dutch Railways

• TRANSDEV Plc/RATP International

The best and final offer stage is now starting and bids are required to be
returned by all shortlisted parties early in the New Year.  The Parliamentary
Order - which exempts the SRA from its franchising responsibilities for the
Merseyrail Electrics Network is currently before Parliament.  It is anticipated
that the Order will complete its process through Parliament by the end of this
year.  This would allow the transfer of responsibility for the letting and
management of the new contract for the Merseyrail Electrics services to

Nick Newton, Chief Operating Officer said:

'It is very encouraging to see three new bidders to the UK heavy rail market
being short listed for this important local network. Their bids contain a number
of innovative approaches and we look forward to these being developed during the
next stage of the competition.  This will allow Merseytravel and the SRA to
select an operator who can deliver the optimum services and performance for
Merseyrail Electrics.'

Notes to Editors

1. The SRA announced in May 2002 six pre-qualified parties as bidders for the
new contract:  Arriva Trains Limited, Connex Transport UK Ltd, Serco Limited,
TRANSDEV plc jointly with RATP International, NS/Dutch Railways and Keolis SA. 
Since this announcement Connex has withdrawn from the competition and Serco and
NS Dutch Railways have formed a joint venture to bid for this contract.

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.

3. 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.

4. The SRA today also announced the bidders invited to submit best and final
offers for the Wales and Borders franchise.

5. The SRA is the government body responsible for allocating funding to the
railways, and providing leadership to the rail industry.

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

                      This information is provided by RNS
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