The Government has today officially re-opened the bidding process for the East Coast mainline, which runs services from London to Scotland via Peterborough, Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire.
It is currently directly operated by the Government, after two previous private franchise deals with GNER and National Express.
A new timetable has also been announced today for all other upcoming rail franchise tenders.
The whole rail franchise system was put on hold after the West Coast Main Line franchise fiasco last year.
FirstGroup was originally awarded the route, which runs from London to the West Midlands, the North West and Scotland.
The deal was scrapped after Virgin launched a legal challenge and major failures were discovered in the bidding process.
Virgin was subsequently given an extension to continue running the line which has today been extended further to 2017.
The franchise renewal for many other routes has also now been put back to stagger the bidding process.
Here is how the new timetable will affect rail franchises operating in the Midlands:
- East Coast: New franchise to start in February 2015
- Great Western (FirstGroup): Current franchise extended from October 2013 – New franchise to start July 2016
- West Coast (Virgin Trains): Current franchise extended from November 2014 – New franchise to start in April 2017
- London Midland (Govia): Current franchise extended from September 2015 – New franchise to start June 2017
- East Midlands (Stagecoach): Current franchise extended from April 2015 – New franchise to start in October 2017
- Wales (Arriva): New franchise to start in October 2018
- Crosscountry (Arriva): Franchise extended from April 2016 – New franchise to start in November 2019
- Chiltern (Arriva): New franchise to start in December 2020
- Northern Rail (Serco/Abellio): Franchise extended from April 2014 – new franchise to start in February 2016
- Thameslink/Southern/Great Northern (First Capital Connect and Southern): Current franchise extended from September 2013 – new combined franchise to start September 2014