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Japanese and Italian firms in running to take over Southeastern’s franchise as FOUR confirmed to be bidding so far

PUBLISHED: 09:26 22 June 2017

Southeastern train

Southeastern train

Archant

Government confirms the firms vying to take over our rail services

The government has confirmed the four companies in the running to takeover the south eastern rail franchise next year.

Currently held by Southeastern, negotiations for the next franchise are now under way.

And while Southeastern is among those in contention - under the name London and South East Passenger Rail Services Limited, which is wholly owned subsidiary of Govia Limited - it will face stiff opposition.

Confirmed to also be bidding is South Eastern Holdings Limited, a joint venture company that should it win the franchise award will be wholly owned by public transport firm Abellio Transport Group Limited and East Japan Railway Company and Mitsui & Co Limited; Stagecoach South Eastern Trains Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of public transport firm Stagecoach Group plc; and Trenitalia UK Limited, wholly owned by Italian railway firm Trenitalia S.p.A.

Transport secretary Chris Grayling said: “South eastern is one of the busiest franchises in the UK, running almost two thousand services every weekday. We want passengers to be at the heart of everything that the new operator does, enjoying modern, spacious trains on a more punctual and reliable service. We will listen to what passengers say in the current public consultation, and we will seek to make changes and improvements only with their support.”

The public consultation is on-going with a decision due next summer and services changing over to the new provider by December.

The government has stated the winner of the south eastern franchise will need to work as one team with Network Rail to ensure passengers experience better journeys and provide longer trains with more space.

Two other companies have also applied for what is known as a pre-qualification questionnaire passport to allow them to enter the bidding process. These firms are now eligible to express an interest in all upcoming rail franchise competitions until September 2019. These may or may not include the south eastern franchise.

Among them is French firm SNCF and Amey Rail Limited.

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