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Abellio awarded Greater Anglia franchise

20 Oct 2011

UK: The Department for Transport named Abellio Greater Anglia Ltd as the winner of the Greater Anglia (Short) passenger train operating franchise on October 20.

Following the required procurement standstill period, the Nederlandse Spoorwegen subsidiary will be formally appointed on November 1.

The short franchise runs for 29 months from February 5 2012 to July 2014, when it is scheduled to be replaced by a 15-year long-term franchise which will draw on the findings of Sir Roy McNulty's Rail Value for Money Study published earlier this year.

DfT said the latest franchise agreement includes improvements to stations, ticket facilities and passenger information, including text message delay alerts.  Abellio will be responsible for many of the services to the 2012 Olympic Games venues at Stratford.

The operator rather than Network Rail will take responsibility for station repairs and renewals. Oyster smart card ticketing will be extended to 10 more stations on the lines to Shenfield and Hertford East, and mobile phone and print-at-home ticketing introduced. Electric car charging points will be installed at 20 stations, a bus link provided between Audley End station and Saffron Walden for a six-month trial, and PlusCab pre-booked taxis offered from 45 stations. Punctuality figures will be published by route.

Abellio is the brand for Dutch national passenger operator NS's rail and bus activities outside the Netherlands. It holds the Merseyrail and Northern Rail franchises in partnership with Serco and has been shortlisted for the new Intercity West Coast franchise. It operates buses in London and the Czech Republic, and provides rail and bus services in Germany.

Bids for Greater Anglia were also submitted by Eastern Railway Ltd (Go-Ahead Group), and Stagecoach Anglia Trains Ltd (Stagecoach Group). Incumbent operator National Express was not shortlisted.