The South West Trains franchise has been won by a consortium of FirstGroup and MTR. The new contract will start on 20 August and run for ‘at least’ seven years, and in that time premiums worth a total of £2.6 billion at present values will be paid to the government. The decision by the Department for Transport ends more than 20 years of control by Stagecoach Group, which ran the first franchised train in Britain early on 4 February 1996. Stagecoach Group said it was ‘disappointed’ to have lost the bid, although it had failed to come to terms with the DfT over the details of a Direct Award which could have extended the present franchise by two years, to 2019.
The concession to operate trams in Birmingham and Wolverhampton will not be awarded again when the present contract with National Express Group ends in October next year. Instead, control of Midland Metro will pass to Transport for West Midlands, which said the change to public control will save taxpayers ‘millions of pounds’. Metro staff will be transferred to TfWM. National Express said it was ‘disappointed’ but promised a smooth handover.
Search for a job