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All franchising on hold as InterCity West Coast award cancelled

03 October 2012

UK: Secretary of State for Transport Patrick McLoughlin has commissioned an urgent review of the franchise tendering programme, following the discovery of significant failings in the bidding process for the InterCity West Coast franchise which was due to change hands on December 9. The Department of Transport had selected FirstGroup to take over ICWC from Virgin Trains Ltd, but this decision was challenged by Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson, who applied for a judicial review. Whilst preparing for this review, DfT uncovered ‘significant technical flaws in the way the franchise process was conducted’. These relate in particular to the treatment of inflation and passenger growth numbers over the 15-year franchise period. McLoughlin said on October 3 that when taking office four weeks ago he had been assured that the franchising process was ‘robust’, but when presented with the detailed findings on the afternoon of October 2 he felt that there was no alternative to cancelling the award and re-running the tendering competition, because of ‘deeply regrettable and completely unacceptable mistakes made by my department’. He has already spoken directly to Branson and Brian Souter of Stagecoach, which holds a 49% stake in Virgin Rail Group, as well as FirstGroup Chief Executive Tim O’Toole. The government will reimburse the bidding costs for the four shortlisted bidders, including Abellio and Keolis/SNCF, thought to total around £40m. The Transport Secretary has ordered two independent reviews ‘to look urgently and thoroughly into the matter, so that we know what exactly happened and how we can make sure our rail franchising programme is fit for purpose’. The first will examine DfT’s handling of the ICWC competition, led by Centrica Chief Executive Sam Laidlaw and former PricewaterhouseCoopers Strategy Chairman Ed Smith, who are both DfT non-executive directors; they have been asked for an initial report by the end of October. The second review will be undertaken by Eurostar Chairman Richard Brown, looking at the wider rail franchising programme to consider ‘whether changes are needed to the way risk is assessed and to the bidding and evaluation processes’. This will report back by the end of December. Pending completion of the reviews, DfT has halted work on three other bidding competitions currently underway. Bids were submitted on September 27 for the Essex Thameside franchise, now operated by National Express as c2c, which is due to change hands in May 2013. This is to be followed by Great Western in July and Thameslink in September. A further five franchises are scheduled to come up for replacement between December 2013 and July 2014. McLoughlin says he will be considering two options to ensure continuity of service on the West Coast Main Line. One would be to negotiate with Virgin, and the other would be to hand the operation to DfT subsidiary Directly Operated Railways, which is currently running East Coast inter-city services. DOR had already been asked to mobilise a shadow management team for ICWC in case Virgin’s legal challenge delayed the handover to FirstGroup.

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· DB orders more Twindexx Vario electric multiple-units

· 01 October 2012

GERMANY: Deutsche Bahn announced a ˆ50m firm order for a further five Bombardier Transportation Twindexx Vario double-deck electric multiple-units on October 1. Delivery is scheduled to start in the second half of 2014. The four and five-car 160 km/h EMUs will be used on regional services south from the Baltic coast. The order has been placed under a December 2008 framework agreement for double-deck stock including EMUs, and includes three previously-ordered powered driving cars. The EMUs will have low-floor entrances and a multi-purpose area on the lower deck of each car, providing space for luggage and up to 36 bicycles per unit. The middle cars will be equipped with vending machines, and an area for people with reduced mobility including an accessible toilet. The upper deck of this car will have a first class area with 2+1 seating. The driving cars have conventional toilets. The cars are to be built at Görlitz, with development undertaken at Hennigsdorf, bogies from Siegen and the traction systems supplied from Vasteras in Sweden

Bombardier Twindexx double-deck stock ordered by DB under 2008 framework agreement
Date Value Vehicles Type Route Delivery
January 2011 ˆ362m (includes 27 Traxx locos) 135 coaches long-distance    
December 2011 ˆ34m 18 coaches regional Kreuz Bremen  
March 2012 ˆ160m 16 x 4-car EMUs regional Hamburg - Kiel/Flensburg
October 2012 ˆ50m 5 x 4/5-car EMUs (includes 3 previously-ordered powered vehicles regional Baltic coast - Berlin/Sachsen Anhalt


Date: 2014-12-21; view: 1187

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