The bid to run Southeastern rail route has been scrapped, the Department for Transport (DfT) has announced.
Incumbent operator Southeastern’s rail route contract was due to expire in November, but this has been extended until April 1 next year.
The franchise competition was cancelled amid concerns that it would not deliver enough passenger benefits, and to ensure that the recommendations of the government-commissioned Williams Review – due to be published in the autumn – are taken into account.
A DfT spokesman said: “We have taken the decision to cancel the South Eastern franchise competition.
“This follows significant concerns that continuing the competition process would lead to additional costs incurred to the taxpayer, with no certainty that this would deliver envisaged benefits for passengers in a timely fashion.
“The Department will use this period to develop a solution that delivers the capacity and performance benefits that passengers are expecting, and ensure that the recommendations of the Williams Review can be implemented.”
David Brown, chief executive of Go-Ahead – which owns Southeastern through a joint venture with Keolis, said: “A lot of hard work was put into a strong bid that would have built upon the achievements of Southeastern in recent years in improving performance and customer satisfaction, delivering more capacity and investment.
“Whilst we’re disappointed that our original bid is not being taken forward, we will engage with the DfT on next steps.”
Southeastern managing director David Statham said: “We’re proud to have delivered more than £80 million of improvements for passengers since we began a new Direct Award contract in 2014.
“Punctuality has improved by nearly 10% in two years, we’ve introduced free wi-fi on our trains, and boosted capacity on board with 5,000 extra seats.
“Over this next extension period, our focus remains squarely on our passengers, delivering more improvements and continuing to improve the punctuality and reliability of our services.”
Railway ReadsFrom the history of steam through to 21st century rail transport news, we have titles that cater for all rail enthusiasts. Covering diesels, modelling, steam and modern railways, check out our range of magazines and fantastic subscription offers.
Get The Railway Hub Weekly Round-upEnter your e-mail address below and you will receive weekly rail news straight into your inbox...
You can unsubscribe at any time.
About the Author
- Projects to restore axed rail routes get £794m boost - 23rd January 2021
- Eurostar: French government pledges financial support - 22nd January 2021
- Police slam using East Sussex railway crossing for photographs - 22nd January 2021