Bidders for East Anglia rail line are confirmed: First East Anglia and National East Anglia Trains to take on Abellio

Charlotte Henry
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Those bidding for the franchise will have to prove they can reduce journey times to London
The government yesterday named the firms who have qualified to bid to operate the East Anglia rail franchise.
The operators, that will now endeavour to succeed incumbent Abellio East Anglia, are First East Anglia and National East Anglia Trains.
Abellio East Anglia Limited – a joint venture between Abellio Transport Group and Stagecoach – will also be allowed to rebid to continue running the service.
The three companies will receive an invitation to tender from the government by August, and the winner will take over the East Anglia franchise in October 2016.
Those bidding for the franchise will have to prove they can reduce journey times to London. In particular, bidders must demonstrate that they can meet the target to reduce journey times between the capital and Norwich to just 90 minutes, an improvement to the line that was recommended by a taskforce who looked at it last year.
Rail minister Claire Perry said: “We want to find a partner who will help us meet the increasing demand for transport in the region by providing faster, more reliable journeys and better connections across the region and beyond.”
Infrastructure spending was a key component in the Conservatives’ election manifesto in May. The party promised to improve the rail line in East Anglia as part of a bid to win over crucial swing voters in the region.
The selected operators welcomed the announcement. Stagecoach boss Martin Griffiths said: “We believe our strong track record, combined with the insight of Abellio, can produce a powerful joint bid to deliver a better experience for customers, and support jobs and businesses in the region.”
The bids drew criticism from the RMT trade union, which represents rail workers. General Secretary Mick Cash said: “This is a three-way combination of foreign state operators who want to plunder Britain’s railways to subsidise their domestic operations.”
Invite to tenderAugust 2015
Contract awardJune 2016
Franchise startOctober 2016
Invite to tenderJan 2016
Contract awardNov 2016
Franchise startApr 2017
Invite to tenderApril 2016
Contract awardFeb 2017
Franchise startJune 2017
Invite to tenderAugust 2016
Contract awardJune 2017
Franchise startOctober 2017
Invite to tenderApril 2017
Contract awardFeb 2018
Franchise startJune 2018
Invite to tenderAugust 2017
Contract awardJune 2018
Franchise startOctober 2018

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