Search

Great Eastern knocked out of rail race

PUBLISHED: 14:00 01 April 2003 | UPDATED: 13:40 03 March 2010

BOSSES at commuter railway First Great Eastern were shellshocked today after being told they won't be running the new Greater Anglia franchise from next year.

BOSSES at commuter railway First Great Eastern were shellshocked today after being told they won't be running the new Greater Anglia franchise from next year.

Meanwhile Anglia Railways' bosses were on cloud nine after their parent group, GB Railways was included on the shortlist.

FirstGroup did not feature in the Strategic Rail Authority's three-firm shortlist bidding for the Greater Anglia franchise.

FirstGroup currently operates the Great Eastern franchise which will form part of the Greater Anglia franchise from April 2004.

The three companies shortlisted were Arriva Trains, GB Railways and National Express.

GB Railways currently runs the Anglia franchise which will become part of the new Greater Anglia franchise, while National Express runs West Anglia Great Northern - part of which will also be incorporated in Greater Anglia.

"The qualification threshold was set at a very demanding level indeed to ensure the best possible competition on behalf of passengers and taxpayers," said SRA chairman Richard Bowker today.

But FirstGroup was not taking the decision lightly.

"We are absolutely shellshocked by the news, we cannot believe this has happened," said a company spokesman.

"We are looking at all the options – including challenging this decision through the courts.

"FirstGroup is a former Rail Operator of the Year and we are one of the best-performing companies in the industry."

Meanwhile at Anglia's offices the mood was much more upbeat. "We are delighted to have pre-qualified and look forward to submitting our full bid," said a company spokesman today.

The Greater Anglia franchise will be up to 10 years and the Northern Rail one will run for up to seven years. The SRA expects to announce preferred bidders for the two franchises in spring 2004.

nDo you think it was right to knock out FirstGroup from the bidding? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk


If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Ipswich Star. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Latest from the Ipswich Star