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You and your train company

28 June 2018

CrossCountry franchise consultation
What do people want from future Cross Country services? The Department for Transport (DfT) has launched a consultation on the new franchise, open for comment until the end of August.

Our research shows the top priorities for improvement among Cross Country passengers are the ability to get a seat on frequent, punctual services using clean trains that provide better value for money. Free Wi-Fi is also a key need for many passengers.

The consultation offers plenty of food for thought, and passengers are encouraged to write in with their views.​ ​

Our franchising team is busy presenting the passenger viewpoint at workshops across Britain.

Wales and Borders

The Welsh Government announced last month that the contract to operate and develop the Wales and Borders rail service has been awarded to KeolisAmey. You can read more about the new service and how we’re promoting the passenger benefit here.

East Midlands

The Invitation to Tender and stakeholder briefing documents for the East Midlands franchise were released earlier this month.

The specification, put together by the DfT, includes a new fleet of trains which can run on diesel and electric, with 50 per cent more peak-time seats. Additionally, bidders are asked to increase the frequency of services, with earlier starts, later finishes and more trains on a Sunday. Delay Repay after 15 minutes must be offered, along with improvements to WiFi and mobile connectivity.

Transport Focus’s franchising team has met with the three remaining bidders: Arriva, Stagecoach and Abellio. First/Trenitalia pulled out of the competition last month to focus on other bids. We use our research evidence to help bidders understand the passenger perspective.

More information about the specification can be found on the Department for Transport’s website. Our most recent research, and our response to the consultation can be found here.​

Other news

The bids for the West Coast Partnership franchise, which includes High Speed 2, are due to be handed in by mid-July. The franchising team are continuing to meet bidders to ensure the passenger perspective is represented within the competition.

Virgin Trains East Coast became London and North Eastern Railway (LNER) on 24 June. Passengers are advised that all tickets will still be valid on the services and that trains will continue to run as normal. Information about future LNER services and frequently asked questions can be found here. We continue to work with the new team to keep current and future passenger priorities at the heart of plans for this part of the network.

The latest wave of the National Rail Passenger Survey was released in June. Transport Focus will be using this to understand the drivers of passenger satisfaction and dissatisfaction, and will share these latest results with bidders and the DfT specification teams.

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