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22nd April 2004

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[ 13th February 2004 ]
Franchising Programme Continues Apace

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13th February 2004

Franchising Programme Continues Apace

The SRA has signed two-year extensions for three rail franchises that will deliver stability until new model franchises start operating in April 2006.

The Authority has signed a two-year extension with incumbent franchisee National Express Group PLC to operate the Wessex Trains and the Great Northern part of WAGN passenger franchises, and has signed a two-year extension with incumbent franchisee GOVIA Ltd to operate the Thameslink passenger franchise. The current franchises for Wessex Trains, Great Northern and Thameslink will be extended from 1 April 2004 to 31 March 2006.

  • The Wessex and Great Northern franchise extensions will ensure the continuation of current service levels and a commitment to work with the Authority to improve performance.
  • The Thameslink franchise extension provides continuity during a period of major works that will facilitate construction of a 'box' accommodating the future St Pancras Midland Road station.
  • From April 2006, services operated under the Wessex Trains franchise will be combined with Great Western and Thames Trains services to form part of a new 'Greater Western' franchise.
Notes to Editors
  • The subsidy payments for the two-year Wessex extension will be circa £71m in 2004/05, an increase of £0.4m compared to 2003/04 levels and £71.5m in 2005/06, an increase of £0.9m compared to 2003/04 levels.
  • The subsidy payments for the two-year Great Northern extension will be circa £18.8m in 2004/05, a reduction of £6.4m compared to 2003/04 levels and £19.4m in 2005/06, a reduction of £5.8m compared to 2003/04 levels.
  • Thameslink will pay the SRA a premium of circa £41.2m in 2004/05 and £42.0m in 2005/06. Compared on a equivalent basis, taking into account regulatory adjustments, this represents an increase over the premium for 2003/04 of £0.2m in 2004/05 and £1.8m in 2005/06.
  • The Great Northern part of the WAGN franchise will be extended from 1 April 2004 to 31 March 2006. West Anglia services will be operated under the new Greater Anglia franchise upon its commencement, planned for 1 April 2004.
  • The Thameslink 2000 infrastructure project will deliver significantly enhanced capacity through central London. The SRA and Network Rail are currently seeking to resolve issues relating to the Transport & Works Act Order application for this project, to enable it to proceed as quickly as possible.