Train operators shortlisted for rail franchises

Six train operators have been shortlisted for two franchises covering the North of England. The Government has promised a 'a world-class rail network' for passengers, but added that the franchise bidders would need to improve customer service.

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Train operators shortlisted for rail franchises

Six train operators have been shortlisted for two franchises covering the North of England.

The Government has promised a 'a world-class rail network' for passengers, but added that the franchise bidders would need to improve customer service and passenger satisfaction on the two networks.

The franchises connect passengers travelling into and between Leeds, Liverpool, Sheffield, Manchester and Newcastle, and onwards to Edinburgh and Glasgow.

Those competing for the Northern franchise are Abellio, which is currently running Northern, Arriva and Govia. The three shortlisted for TransPennine Express (TPE) are FirstGroup, Keolis and Stagecoach. FirstGroup and Keolis currently operate TPE in a joint venture.

The Campaign for Better Transport and the RMT transport union have expressed concern that rail services in northern England could be cut.

The Government said bidders will be expected to show how they will make the most of the Government's £1bn investment programme for the rail network in the North of England, which will provide faster and more reliable journeys, more capacity, better trains and improved connections for passengers across the region.

"Building a railway that is fit for the 21st century is a vital part of our long-term economic plan, connecting businesses and communities, generating jobs and boosting growth, and we need strong private sector partners to help us achieve this ambition."

– Rail Minister Claire Perry
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