UK: The Trenitalia UK subsidiary of Italian’s national railway group has dropped its bid for the South Eastern passenger franchise to focus on the West Coast Partnership competition, the company confirmed on August 10.

The company said it had ‘regretfully’ taken the decision to pull of the South Eastern competion because of the ‘recent confirmation there will be a significant overlap’ between the two bidding processes. It had considered the West Coast Partnership contract to be its ‘primary target’ since it began entering the UK market.

‘This has already been an extremely successful year for the business and we remain absolutely committed to increasing our presence in the UK rail market with a strategy based on our customer-centric approach’, said Ernesto Sicilia, Chairman & Managing Director of Trenitalia UK. ‘So far in 2017 we have acquired one franchise and been shortlisted for all three franchise competitions we expressed an interest in. Our c2c service continues to go from strength to strength as witnessed by the latest independent NRPS passenger survey, and we believe our skills and resources make us a strong joint-bidder for both the West Coast Partnership and East Midlands franchise competitions with our partners at FirstGroup.’

The remaining shortlisted bidders for the next South Eastern franchise are:

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

The franchise is planned to start in December 2018. It covers regional and commuter services southeast of London, including domestic services on High Speed 1, and currently handles around 640 000 passenger-journeys on 1 900 trains every weekday.