UK: On June 25 Transport for London announced its shortlist of bidders for the concession to operate Crossrail services. These are Arriva Crossrail Ltd, Keolis/Go Ahead, MTR Corp (Crossrail) Ltd and National Express Group.

The concession would be similar to the existing London Overground inner-suburban contract. TfL invited expressions of interest earlier this year, and the invitation to tender is due in September. An operator is scheduled to be appointed at the end of 2014. The concession would run for eight years, with an option for a 31-month extension at TfL’s discretion.

The successful bidder would start running passenger services from May 2015 between London Liverpool Street and Shenfield, taking over stopping services currently operated by Greater Anglia. These would initially use the current rolling stock, which is due to be replaced by new trains from May 2017.

The exact opening strategy is yet to be finalised. The current plan envisages that the concession would take over running between Heathrow and Paddington (mainline platforms) in May 2018, with Paddington (Crossrail platforms) – Abbey Wood services following in December 2018. May 2019 would see the start of Paddington – Shenfield services, with the full service including services to Maidenhead operational in December 2019.