Candidates for East Anglian rail franchise are announced

Change coming down the line? Candidates will vie for control of the railways in East Anglia.

Change coming down the line? Candidates will vie for control of the railways in East Anglia. - Credit: Archant

The Government has announced a shortlist of candidates who will vie for control of the lucrative East Anglian railway franchise.

Three companies – Abellio East Anglia, First East Anglia and National Express East Anglia - are in the running for the next franchise, having successfully passed the pre-qualification stage.

In the weeks and months ahead, the companies will work with the Department for Transport to develop their proposals before receiving the invitation to tender for the contract in August.

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 five routes across the region.

The companies 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.

They will also be expected to show how they could achieve the recommendations of the Great Eastern Main Line Taskforce, which includes reducing London to Norwich journey times to 90 minutes.

Rail minister Claire Perry said: “We have ambitious plans for East Anglia’s rail network, and the successful bidder will be central to making these plans a reality.

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“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.”

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