England

East Anglia to get new rail operator

A new company is set to run rail services in East Anglia.

Existing operator National Express East Anglia was not shortlisted for the Greater Anglia franchise, which starts next year.

The three companies on the list are the Go-Ahead Group, Stagecoach and Nederlandse Spoorwegen.

National Express said it would seek clarification from the Department for Transport (DfT) over the decision.

The Greater Anglia franchise will start on 5 February 2012 and run for 17 months with an option to extend by up to one year.

The DfT said this shorter franchise would allow time for reforms arising from the current McNulty review into rail value for money to be properly considered.

'Very disappointed'

In a statement, the DfT said objectives for the franchise would include delivering a quality of service for passengers for their entire journey and working with Network Rail to maintain performance.

A National Express spokesperson said: "We are very disappointed not to have been shortlisted to bid for the Greater Anglia franchise.

"We believe we put forward a very positive and high quality submission building on the significant improvements delivered on National Express East Anglia.

"We are therefore seeking further clarification from the Department for Transport to explain this decision."

Peter Lawrence, president of campaign group Railfuture, said: "I'm surprised. I thought they [National Express] would probably get a 17-month extension.

"I think they're doing the best they can within the circumstances they have to operate in.

"It won't make much difference to passengers. It doesn't seem worthwhile changing operators for such a short period of time."

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