The UK Government has invited bid applications for its West Coast Partnership franchise.
The successful bidder will operate the West Coast service from September 2019 to 2031 and carry out multiple improvements on the current services including simplifying fares, improving accessibility and introducing modern ticketing services.
UK Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said: “The new West Coast Partnership will deliver immediate benefits to passengers and pave the way for the seamless introduction of HS2, with one operator responsible for all aspects of the journey, designed to deliver the best-possible passenger service.”
Besides operating the West Coast line, the selected company will supervise the introduction of H2 services from 2026 in collaboration with HS2 and the Department for Transport (DfT).
Grayling added: “I want HS2 to become a strong British organisation, potentially capable of not just building, but also operating a successful railway – a beacon for other countries to aspire to, both in terms of the engineering project to build it and the service it will offer to passengers, which we will introduce on the West Coast Partnership.”
In June last year, the government announced the shortlisted companies which will bid for the West Coast Partnership franchise.
The companies were First Trenitalia West Coast Rail, MTR West Coast Partnership and West Coast Partnership.
The deadline to submit the bidding applications is 13 July this year, while the DfT is expected to announce the preferred bidder in April next year following the evaluation of their propositions.