Foreign train companies have emerged as the front-runners to operate Crossrail, London's new high-speed underground service. Three international rail firms are the only bidders so far to declare an interest in running the trains and stations.
They include the company behind the Paris Metro, RATP and the firm which runs Hong Kong's underground system, MTR. The German railway giant DB will also apply for the franchise.
The £15bn railway linking Berkshire with Essex and Kent is due to open in 2018. Potential operators have until the end of this month to sumit expressions of interest.