Shortlists drawn up for first railway franchises

Four bidders have been shortlisted for each of the three railway lines in the first tranche of rail franchises, according to industry sources.

While the Government will be pleased that there seems to be reasonable numbers of serious bids for each of the lines, there remains serious dissatisfaction among some of the bidders over the length of the proposed franchises and the complexity of the process.

The shortlisted consortia have until 27 October to submit their final bids for the three lines: Great Western Rail (InterCity services out of Paddington); South West Trains (suburban and regional services out of Waterloo); and LTS (the London, Tilbury and Southend line out of Fenchurch Street).

Roger Salmon, the franchising director, has refused to divulge the names or numbers of bids, but most are now known. Several even issued press releases, in apparent contradiction of the confidentiality terms.

The bidders for LTS include: GB Railways, a partnership of four people, one of whom, Jeremy Long, successfully led a management buyout of 11 motorway services from GrandMet 10 years ago; Prism, which links several bus operators; and Atless, the new name for the management buyout. Britain's largest bus operator, Strathclyde Bus, has been eliminated.

Bids for Great Western include: National Express, the long-distance bus company; the management buyout team; Resurgence Railways; and Sea Containers.

Sea Containers has also bid for the fourth franchise, SWT, but only on condition that it wins both lines. Although the company has always stressed that it wanted to be able to control the infrastructure - this belongs to Railtrack - as well as the train services, it has now accepted that the Government will refuse to allow this as it would jeopardise the more lucrative privatisation of Railtrack.

Sea Containers gave a glimpse of the way it intends to run the business. It said it plans to open new parkway stations, increase car parking and "will consider the possible use of double-deck carriages".

The management buyout team for SWT, which has linked up with Compagnie Generale des Eaux to form Astia, is another bidder and two others are known to have been shortlisted, possibly including Stagecoach.

While all these bidders are likely to put in the necessary compliant bids, most prefer non-compliant offers. In particular there is widespread dissatisfaction with the notion of seven-year franchises. One bidder said: "To see the benefits of privatisation, passengers will want to see new trains. But with only a seven-year franchise, it will not be possible to provide new rolling stock because it would have to be guaranteed by the franchising director and we are back to PSBR problems."

Another bidder also complained about the complexity of the process, saying: "We only have six weeks to check all the contracts. What do we do if we find one we don't like? It will simply be impossible to change it because there isn't time."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

competitive: SThree: Are you passionate about sales?Do you have a keen interes...

Recruitment Genius: Loan Adviser - OTE £30,000

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Assistant / Buyer

£15000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company offers a range of ...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisor

£15000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisors are r...

Day In a Page

Greece says 'No': A night of huge celebrations in Athens as voters decisively back Tsipras and his anti-austerity stance in historic referendum

Greece referendum

Greeks say 'No' to austerity and plunge Europe into crisis
Ten years after the 7/7 terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?

7/7 bombings anniversary

Ten years after the terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?
Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has created

Versace haute couture review

Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has ever created
No hope and no jobs, so Gaza's young risk their lives, climb the fence and run for it

No hope and no jobs in Gaza

So the young risk their lives and run for it
Fashion apps: Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers

Fashion apps

Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers
The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate