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National Express Loses Anglia Franchise

The Greater Anglia franchise is due to start next year, and East Anglia’s existing operator, National Express, hasn’t been shortlisted to run the rail services. The operator says that they will seek clarification from the Department for Transport about the decision. Those on the list, however, are Stagecoach, Go-Ahead Group and Nederlande Spoorwagen.

The new rail franchise is due to start on February 5 and will run for 17 months with an option to extend it by as much as 1 year. The Department for Transport says the shorter franchise will allow time for reforms that will come up from the current McNulty review into properly considering rail value for money. Objectives for the franchise will include working with Network Rail to maintain performance and delivering a quality of service for the entire journey for passengers.

A spokesperson for National Express said that the company is very disappointed not to be on the shortlist to bid for the Greater Anglia franchise. They believe they put a very positive and high quality submission forward for building on the substantial improvements delivered on East Anglia. Therefore, they are seeking further clarification to explain the decision, the spokesperson added.

Campaign group Railfuture president Peter Lawrence said that he is surprised about the decision and thought National Express would get a 17-month extension. They believe the company is doing the best they can in the circumstances they have to operate in, he continued. It won’t make a lot of difference to passengers, he added, and doesn’t seem worthwhile to change operators for such a short period.

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