Passenger Voice January 2016: You and your train company

21 December 2015

New operators announced for Northern and TransPennine Express

The Department for Transport (DfT) has announced the award of two new rail franchises. Arriva is the successful bidder in the Northern franchise competition and will begin to operate services from April 2016. The TransPennine Express franchise has been awarded to First, the current operator, also due to start in April 2016.

Both franchises will offer new trains, additional services, more seats and free Wi-Fi, all high priorities for passengers. We are also pleased to see the inclusion of National Rail Passenger Survey targets.

We look forward to the new franchises addressing important passenger priorities such as train punctuality, information provision and the availability of staff. We will be working with the new operators as they prepare to start operating the services.

Read the DfT announcement here.

South Western franchise bidders’ day and public consultation

The DfT recently held a bidders’ day for the South Western franchise. A competition is currently running to find a new operator for services from June 2017.

This event was an opportunity for anyone who is interested in bidding for this franchise to hear more about the DfT’s plans. We gave a presentation to share details of our forthcoming passenger research.

As part of the competition the DfT are running a consultation. If you are interested in the future of these rail services then you should take advantage of this opportunity to make your views heard. Full details are in the consultation document.  

Transport Focus will be responding to the consultation and will also be publishing research we have recently undertaken with South Western passengers.

West Midlands franchise competition and public consultation

A competition has also been launched to find a new operator of rail services in the West Midlands from October 2017. The Department for Transport (DfT) published a prospectus to provide information to potential bidders. It also held a bidders’ day in Birmingham earlier this month. We gave a presentation drawing on a range of research about passengers’ experiences and hopes for the service.

A public consultation into the future of rail services was launched on 16 December. This is a great opportunity for you to get involved and have your say. Click here to find out more.

Transport Focus will be responding to the consultation, incorporating the findings of our 2014 research with West Midlands passengers.

In the meantime, a further short-term contract has been awarded to London Midland to continue operating services until the new franchise begins.

West Coast franchise

The DfT will be looking for a new operator for services on the West Coast, currently run by Virgin Trains. The new franchise will begin in April 2018 with the competition due to start in June 2016. The DfT invited anyone in the industry who might be interested in this franchise to join them in Birmingham on 9 December and learn more about their vision for future services. They also published a West Coast overview and vision document.

East Anglia franchise bids

The three bidders for the next East Anglia franchise are due to submit their formal proposals to the DfT on 18 December. We will be undertaking a review of the customer experience elements of the bids and will share our views in the new year.

For more on our franchising work click here.

The DfT’s rail franchising schedule can be found here.


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