Stagecoach Group plc ("Stagecoach") notes the announcement by the
Department for Transport ("DfT") regarding its plans, timetable and
investment programme for UK rail franchising.
The announcement includes the planned extension or direct award contract
in relation to three franchises in which Stagecoach has an involvement:
* The Stagecoach South Western Trains franchise, scheduled to run until
February 2017, is to be extended to April 2019, the end of Control
* The East Midlands Trains franchise, scheduled to run until April 2015, is to be extended to October 2017.
* The West Coast franchise, operated by our joint venture Virgin Rail
Group and which was last year extended to November 2014, will now run to
In addition, the DfT has confirmed its plans for a number of franchise
competitions in 2013-14, including Essex Thameside, Thameslink and
InterCity East Coast. The Thameslink franchise, for which Stagecoach is a
shortlisted bidder, has resumed. An Invitation to Tender will be issued
to existing shortlisted bidders in September 2013, with the franchise
expected to be awarded by May 2014.
Martin Griffiths, Stagecoach Group Finance Director, said: "This is an
important step in getting rail franchising back on track. It brings
greater clarity and confidence in the future for everyone with an
interest in the continued success of the UK rail network.
"We welcome the extensions announced to franchises we are involved in
operating. Our focus will be on further improving rail travel for our
customers and securing a good return for investors who play a key role
in the funding of the UK rail network. The extension at South West
Trains will also allow us to continue our ground-breaking Alliance with
Network Rail to deliver a better and more efficient railway for
"Work is already well underway on developing innovative proposals for
our bid for the Thameslink franchise and we look forward to submitting a
competitive and customer-focused bid. We will also consider closely the
opportunities in the InterCity East Coast franchise competition
"Despite the difficulties of the past year, the core franchising model
works for passengers, Government and investors. It has delivered record
passenger growth, huge investment in trains and stations and a more
efficient system for taxpayers.
"Now we have a timetable of the Government's plans, it is critical the
momentum is maintained. The focus must be on delivery and ensuring a
flow of franchise competitions to maintain investor confidence. We will
continue to work closely with the DfT and its newly established
Franchise Advisory Panel in the months ahead to help deliver an improved
franchising system that builds on the benefits the private sector has
delivered for taxpayers and rail passengers."