Three companies in the running to improve rail services across East Anglia

Posted on in News Archive

UK: The train companies shortlisted to transform rail services in East Anglia have been announced on 2nd June by the UK government.

Three companies are in the running for the next East Anglia rail franchise, having successfully passed the pre-qualification stage. They will work with the government to develop their proposals before receiving the invitation to tender in August.

East Anglia franchise includes Stansted Express services and a link to Southend Airport.

According to the East Anglia franchise prospectus, Stansted Express faces the greatest competition from coaches and direct buses into London for the airport market share.

Stansted Express

This competition has been mirrored in the decline of the rail market share to the airport. The coach share has grown from 21% in 2008 to 29% in 2013, whilst rail has declined to 22%.

Overall though, 49% of airport users arrive by car due to the convenience of accessing the airport by road, particularly during peak flight times in the early mornings and late evenings.

Bidders will be asked to show how they will improve the region’s railways, including providing reduced journey times to London, more reliable services, and better connections.
The 3 shortlisted bidders are:

  • Abellio East Anglia Limited (a joint venture between Abellio and Stagecoach)
  • First East Anglia Limited
  • National Express East Anglia Trains Limited

“We have ambitious plans for East Anglia’s rail network, and the successful bidder will be central to making these plans a reality,” 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.”

“We are investing record amounts in building a world-class railway as part of our long-term economic plan, and I am determined that passengers in East Anglia will benefit.”

The new operator is due to take over the franchise in October 2016. The East Anglia franchise, which is currently operated by Abellio Greater Anglia, carries 354,000 passengers a day on 5 routes across the region.

A public consultation on the future of rail services in East Anglia closed in March and the responses will be taken into account as the franchise proposals are developed further.