Transport for London (TfL) has invited bids to operate Crossrail services, with the first phase of the project scheduled to be opened in May 2015 between Liverpool Street and Shenfield.
Interested bidders will have to submit expressions of interest to run the line by 30 April 2013, with TfL expecting to appoint the winner by the end of 2014.
TfL, which will be responsible for specifying the service levels, hours of operation and staffing required for the contract, will let Crossrail services as a concession, similar to the existing London Overground contract.
The first Crossrail operations, scheduled to start in May 2015, will take over the Greater Anglia stopping services between Liverpool Street and Shenfield, using existing lines.
The winning bidder will operate the train services and many of the stations along the route, providing front line and operational staff.
The main Crossrail services linking Canary Wharf, the City and the West End will open in late 2018, with the full service to Maidenhead scheduled to launch in December 2019.
The full Crossrail route will pass through 37 stations and run 118km from Maidenhead and Heathrow in the west, through central London in new twin-bore 21km tunnels to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east.
When fully operational, the Crossrail service is expected to increase London’s rail-based transport network capacity by 10% and carry about 200 million passengers per annum.
Image: Initial Crossrail services between Liverpool Street and Shenfield will start in May 2015 with existing rolling stock. Photo: courtesy of Crossrail.