UK: Stagecoach Group announced on February 5 that Alstom Transport UK Ltd would be joining its shortlisted bid for the next South Eastern passenger franchise, subject to formal consent from the DfT.

The intention is that Alstom would hold 20% of the share capital of the train operating company if the Stagecoach bid were to be successful.

'Our proposal for a collaboration with Alstom to bid for the South Eastern rail franchise aims to combine Alstom’s knowledge of infrastructure and rolling stock, with our operational expertise and customer service focus’, said Stagecoach Chief Executive Martin Griffiths. ‘The proposed arrangement supports our vision of delivering a more integrated and innovative rail service for the customers and local communities who depend on what is one of the busiest rail networks in the UK.’

Alstom already works with Stagecoach as the supplier and maintainer of the Pendolino trainsets used on the InterCity West Coast franchise which is operated by the Virgin Trains 51:49 joint venture of Virgin and Stagecoach.

‘Now, we have the opportunity to form an even closer partnership with this unique bid for the South Eastern franchise’, said Nick Crossfield, Managing Director, Alstom UK & Ireland. ‘It is the first time two companies like ours have joined up like this, and together, we can offer a better service to passengers and communities along the route.’

The South Eastern franchise covers commuter and regional services from Kent and East Sussex to London. It is currently held by Govia, operating under the Southeastern brand. The shortlisted bidders for the next contract are:

  • Stagecoach South Eastern Trains Ltd;
  • South Eastern Holdings Ltd (Abellio Transport Group, East Japan Railway and Mitsui & Co);
  • London & South East Passenger Rail Services Ltd (Govia 65:35 joint venture of Go-Ahead and Keolis UK).

Trenitalia UK Ltd had also been shortlisted, but withdrew to focus on the competiton for the West Coast Partnership contract which was its primary target in entering the UK market.