Andrew Jones – 2019 Statement on East Midlands Rail Franchise

Below is the text of the statement made by Andrew Jones, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport, in the House of Commons on 11 April 2019.

On Wednesday 10 April, it was announced that Abellio is the successful bidder to operate the east midlands rail franchise and will be responsible for delivering new trains, smart ticketing and more frequent services for passengers. Passengers in the east midlands are to get new trains, more peak-time services, reduced journey times and over £17 million of station improvements as Abellio takes over the franchise from August 2019.

Abellio will invest £600 million in trains and stations between August 2019 and 2027, while the Government continue with their £1.5 billion upgrade to the midland main line—the biggest upgrade to the line since it was completed in 1870. This is part of the Government’s £48 billion investment to modernise our railways over the next five years.

As we informed the House in yesterday’s written statement, Abellio was awarded the contract “following rigorous competition.” It was a fair, open competition and Abellio provided the best bid, in which it demonstrated that it will not only meet but exceed the Department’s specifications.

Stagecoach chose to put in a non-compliant bid, which resulted in its disqualification, in line with the terms of the published invitation to tender. That said, Stagecoach has played an important role in our railways, and we hope it will continue to do so after the conclusion of the rail review. However, it is entirely for Stagecoach and its bidding partners to explain why it decided to ignore established rules by rejecting the commercial terms on offer.