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Both franchises are scheduled to commence on 1st April 2016 and shortlisted bidders are now invited to submit their proposal for the future operation.
Nick Donovan, Managing Director of the current franchise operator, said:
“The specifications for the new TPE and Northern franchises have been eagerly awaited and I am pleased that the TPE specification requires the focus that we have put into great customer service to be continued and further enhanced.
“Over the last 11 years we have invested nearly £350m in brand new trains, refurbished stations and made them accessible and have much improved travel options carrying more than 26m customers a year. We have transformed train service performance and customer satisfaction and I am in no doubt that we will hand over the new franchise in a much better position than when we took it over.
“Today’s DfT announcement represents a significant step in continuing to develop a great rail service for the north of England and into Scotland. The future for rail and an improved customer experience is an exciting and positive one and my team and I will continue to work hard to deliver customer expectations in preparation for the transition to the new franchise.”
Shortlisted bidders will now prepare submissions based on the DfT specifications for both the Northern and Transpennine Express franchises with tenders for the TPE franchise to be submitted by 28th May 2015.
The DfT will then spend the time analysing the individual proposals before announcing the franchise awardees in late 2015.
We cannot comment further on future franchises and interested parties should contact the individual shortlisted companies for further comment.