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Train Franchises

Volume 403: debated on Thursday 10 April 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement on the current franchise negotiations, with particular reference to the (a) Great Anglian and (b) Great Western areas. [107850]

On 1 April, the Strategic Rail Authority announced that three parties had qualified as bidders for the Great Anglia franchise: Arriva plc; GB Railways plc; and National Express Group plc. The new franchise will incorporate existing Anglia Railways, Great Eastern and West Anglia rail services after the end of current franchises in 2004.The Greater Western franchise will commence in 2006, combining the services currently operated by First Great Western, Wessex Trains and Thames Trains. The Strategic Rail Authority intends to ask FirstGroup and Go-Ahead for proposals to run the Thames Trains franchise in the interim period 2004–06.