FirstGroup Wins Thames Trains – But Only For 2 Years

17 August 2005

The SRA today (4 November 2003) announced that it has selected FirstGroup as the preferred bidder for the new Thames Trains franchise, replacing the incumbent franchisee, Go-Ahead. The existing franchise, awarded in September 1996, expires on 31 March 2004. The new franchise will run from 1 April 2004 to 31 March 2006.


The SRA has reduced the bids down to ‘two options’ from FirstGroup and expects to be able to confirm, by December. Due to business sensitivity the options are not allowed into the public domain.


The SRA has been in discussions with Go-Ahead Group regarding a two-year extension to its current franchise since summer 2002. In September 2002 it separately received an unsolicited proposition from FirstGroup to combine Thames services with Great Western services from 2004.


Plans for a Greater Western (GW) franchise was announced by the SRA on 6 November 2002. GW will combine the existing Great Western (FirstGroup), Thames Trains and Wessex Trains (NEG) franchises into one operation. It is scheduled to commence in early 2006, following a competition to select a franchisee.

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