Posted 25th June 2013 | 2 Comments

Crossrail shortlist reveals four contenders

FOUR contenders for the Crossrail operating concession have been announced by Transport for London. The bidders are a mixture of British and foreign companies, but FirstGroup and one French firm have been disappointed.

The shortlisted companies are Arriva Crossrail Limited (owned by Deutsche Bahn), Keolis/Go Ahead, MTR Corporation (Crossrail) Limited and National Express Group PLC.

Paris Metro and Manchester Metrolink operator RATP Dev has failed at the first hurdle, however. The company had been hoping to add Crossrail to its list of metro and tram operations. It also operates some London buses, and so already has a contract with Transport for London.

FirstGroup has also failed to qualify. It is currently in negotiations with the DfT over a proposed extension to its Great Western franchise as part of the reorganised franchising programme after the collapse of the Intercity West Coast competition last October.

TfL said the Invitation to Tender will now be issued to the four shortlisted bidders in September, and one of them will be appointed at the end of next year. The first services are to start in May 2015, using existing rolling stock, between Liverpool Street and Shenfield, taking over the suburban services currently operated by Greater Anglia. The route through Canary Wharf, the City and the West End will open in late 2018, with the full route through to Heathrow and Maidenhead due to open in 2019.

Crossrail director of operations Howard Smith said: “We are a step closer to appointing an operator for Crossrail. As our population grows faster than forecast, the case for stable and sustained investment in London’s transport network has never been stronger. Crossrail will help cut journey times across the city and will achieve internationally recognised high standards of reliability, train frequency and customer service. Crossrail will make it easier for people travelling across the capital, helping create jobs and supporting growth and regeneration along the route.”

The industry is now watching the progress of the Crossrail rolling stock contract with close interest. Worth some £1 billion, the Department for Transport has abandoned its plans to use an element of private finance to pay for the 600-vehicle fleet.

Reader Comments:

Views expressed in submitted comments are that of the author, and not necessarily shared by Railnews.

  • Martyn Bristow, Birkenhead

    I think it is whatever gives the best financial conditions for the tax payer and commuters who will use it.
    First Group is a UK company which doesn't meet the above.

  • MikeB, Liverpool

    With regard to the Go-Ahead/Keolis consortium, the latter already has involvement in four UK franchises and is the preferred bidder for Nottingham Express Transit. They are majority owned by SNCF, who will undoubtedly be raking in a good proportion of any profits made here in the UK. However, both the government in Paris and SNCF are still holding out against any outside involvement in the French public transport network. So, it is a great pity that the British Government has the attitude that any foreign, state-owned, company is welcome to operate in the UK but, on the other hand, they are doing nothing to pressurise France to open their doors to British companies.