Collection

Rail franchising

All current documents relating to rail franchising at the Department for Transport.

The Department for Transport (DfT) is responsible for designing and procuring new and replacement rail franchise services on the national rail network. DfT is the franchising authority for the rail network.

Our vision is to provide world class train services that drive economic growth and exceed passenger expectations.

Rail franchising: background information

  1. Rail franchising: aims and expectations

    • Guidance
  2. Rail franchising 26 May 2016

    • Written statement to Parliament
  3. Rail franchising schedule

    • Guidance

Rail franchising PQQ passport

The pre-qualification questionnaire (PQQ) passport for rail franchising covers all rail franchise competitions held between September 2015 and September 2019. Passport holders can express an interest for any future franchise competition without having to submit the same detailed technical information each time – saving time and reducing costs.

Current PQQ passport holders are:

  • Abellio Transport Group Limited
  • Amey Rail Limited
  • Arriva UK Trains Limited
  • East Japan Railway Company and Mitsui & Company Limited (Consortium)
  • First Rail Holdings Limited
  • Go-Ahead Holding Limited
  • Govia Limited
  • Keolis (UK) Limited
  • Metroline Rail Limited
  • MTR Corporation (UK) Limited
  • National Express Trains Limited
  • Nuovo Trasporto Viaggiatori SpA (NTV)
  • Renfe Viajeros Sociedad Mercantil Estatal SA
  • SNCF C3
  • Stagecoach Group Plc
  • Transdev Plc
  • Trenitalia SpA
  • Virgin Holdings Limited

Cross Country franchise

An intercity franchise that provides passenger services across the whole country stretching from Aberdeen to Penzance, Bournemouth to Manchester and Stansted to Cardiff.

East Anglia franchise

A commuter and regional franchise providing passenger services between London (Liverpool Street), Colchester, Ipswich, Norwich as well as local and regional services across the east of England.

  1. Better journeys for rail passengers and boost for Derby train industry as new East Anglia franchise announced

    • News story
  2. Major boost for East Anglia as government confirms ambitious ‘Norwich in 90’ plans

    • News story
  3. Rail franchising: East Anglia invitation to tender

    • Written statement to Parliament
  4. East Anglia franchise 2015: invitation to tender

    • Guidance
  5. East Anglia rail franchise 2014

    • Consultation outcome
  6. Shortlist for East Anglia franchise announced

    • News story
  7. Rail franchising: East Anglia, 2 June 2015

    • Written statement to Parliament
  8. East Anglia franchise 2015: prospectus

    • Guidance
  9. East Anglia franchise 2015: OJEU notice

    • Guidance
  10. East Anglia franchise 2015: pre-qualification documentation

    • Guidance

East Midlands franchise

An intercity and regional franchise that provides passenger services between London (St Pancras), the East Midlands and Yorkshire (Leicester, Nottingham, Derby, Sheffield, Leeds) and all the central England services linking Nottingham; Derby, Worksop, Lincoln, Cleethorpes, Skegness, Leicester and Cambridge.

  1. Faster journeys, more seats and better compensation for passengers in next East Midlands franchise

    • News story
  2. East Midlands rail franchise invitation to tender

    • Written statement to Parliament
  3. East Midlands franchise 2018: invitation to tender

    • Guidance
  4. Update on the East Coast, West Coast and East Midlands rail franchises

    • Oral statement to Parliament
  5. Future of East Midlands rail franchise

    • Consultation outcome
  6. East Midlands rail franchise 2017: expression of interest documentation

    • Guidance
  7. East Midlands rail franchise: 3 firms make the shortlist

    • News story
  8. East Midlands rail franchise 2016: prospectus

    • Guidance
  9. Better journeys for East Midlands rail passengers as government confirms new deal

    • News story
  10. Rail Franchising: East Midlands direct award

    • Written statement to Parliament

Essex Thameside franchise

A commuter franchise providing services into London from south-east Essex along the Thames.

Great Western franchise

A commuter and intercity franchise including high speed train services between London (Paddington), South Wales, the Cotswolds, the West Country, and rural services.

  1. The future of the Great Western franchise

    • News story
  2. Strategic vision for rail, 29 November 2017

    • Written statement to Parliament
  3. Great Western rail franchise

    • Closed consultation
  4. Great Western franchise: response to the 2014 consultation

    • Policy paper
  5. Great Western: specification for the future franchise

    • Consultation outcome

InterCity East Coast franchise

An intercity franchise providing long distance services between London (Kings Cross) and Aberdeen. Its services call at the major cities of London, Peterborough, Doncaster, York, Newcastle, Edinburgh and Aberdeen.

  1. LNER to run East Coast Mainline services from London to Yorkshire, the North East and Scotland

    • News story
  2. East Coast rail update

    • Oral statement to Parliament
  3. East Coast train operator assessment

    • Policy paper
  4. Update on the East Coast, West Coast and East Midlands rail franchises

    • Oral statement to Parliament
  5. InterCity East Coast rail franchise 2014: invitation to tender

    • Guidance
  6. InterCity East Coast rail franchise 2012

    • Consultation outcome
  7. InterCity East Coast franchise clarification questions

    • Guidance
  8. InterCity East Coast (ICEC) rail franchise 2013: OJEU notice and pre-qualification documentation

    • Guidance
  9. InterCity East Coast (ICEC) rail franchise 2013: prospectus

    • Guidance

InterCity West Coast franchise

An intercity franchise that provides passenger services between London (Euston), the West Midlands, north-west England, north Wales and Scotland. Its services call at London, Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester, Edinburgh and Glasgow. (See also West Coast Partnership.)

London and the south-east

Northern franchise

A regional franchise consisting of a range of inter-urban, commuter and rural services throughout the north of England.

  1. Better journeys for rail customers as new Northern and TransPennine Express franchises confirmed

    • News story
  2. Massive boost to rail services brings Northern Powerhouse to life

    • News story
  3. Massive boost to rail services in the north-east brings Northern Powerhouse to life

    • News story
  4. Massive boost to rail services in the north-west brings Northern Powerhouse to life

    • News story
  5. Massive boost to rail services across Yorkshire and the Humber brings Northern Powerhouse to life

    • News story
  6. Rail franchising: Northern and TransPennine Express franchises

    • Written statement to Parliament
  7. Northern rail franchise 2015: invitation to tender

    • Guidance
  8. Future of Northern and TransPennine Express rail franchises

    • Consultation outcome
  9. Pacer vehicles withdrawal: seeking a ministerial direction

    • Correspondence
  10. Pacer vehicles withdrawal: confirming the ministerial direction

    • Correspondence
  11. Northern rail franchise 2014: prospectus

    • Guidance
  12. TransPennine Express and Northern rail franchises 2014: OJEU notice

    • Guidance
  13. Northern rail franchise 2014: pre-qualification documentation

    • Guidance

South Eastern franchise

A commuter franchise that operates passenger services in the south-east London suburbs, the whole of Kent and part of Sussex, which are primarily commuter services to and from central London.

  1. Better journeys for South Eastern rail passengers

    • News story
  2. Strategic vision for rail, 29 November 2017

    • Written statement to Parliament
  3. South Eastern franchise 2017: invitation to tender

    • Guidance
  4. Bidders for 2 rail franchises named by government

    • News story
  5. West Coast Partnership and South Eastern rail franchise bidders

    • Written statement to Parliament
  6. South Eastern rail franchise competition 2017: prospectus

    • Guidance
  7. South Eastern franchise consultation launched

    • News story
  8. Future of South Eastern rail services

    • Consultation outcome
  9. South Eastern rail franchise competition 2017: expression of interest documentation

    • Guidance
  10. Letter to Southeastern passengers

    • Correspondence

South Western franchise

A commuter and regional franchise that operates an intensive network of suburban and long distance services between London Waterloo, south-west London, and towns and cities in the south-west of England, including the Island Line services on the Isle of Wight.

  1. First MTR South Western Trains Limited wins South Western franchise

    • News story
  2. South Western rail franchise

    • Written statement to Parliament
  3. Better journeys on the way for rail passengers across the South Western network

    • News story
  4. South Western franchise 2016: invitation to tender

    • Guidance
  5. South Western rail franchise

    • Consultation outcome
  6. Two companies shortlisted to compete for the next South Western rail franchise

    • News story
  7. South Western rail franchise 2015: prospectus

    • Guidance
  8. South Western rail franchise competition 2015: expression of interest documentation

    • Guidance
  9. Passengers invited to have their say on South Western train franchise

    • News story

Thameslink, Southern and Great Northern franchise

A commuter interurban and regional franchise bringing together Thameslink and Great Northern services with Southern services.

Thameslink provides intensive inter-urban services across London (including the key stations of St Pancras International and London Bridge) and to the north and south of the city (between Bedford and Brighton) and out to East Croydon, Gatwick Airport and Brighton.

Great Northern runs between London King’s Cross and Moorgate to Hertford North, Peterborough, Cambridge and King’s Lynn.

Southern operates predominantly commuter services between London, Surrey and Sussex, plus Gatwick and Brighton, as well as south coast services between Southampton, Brighton, Hastings and Ashford. It also operates Metro services in south London and the Gatwick Express service.

TransPennine Express franchise

An intercity and regional providing long distance inter-urban services, across both north-east and north-west England including to Newcastle, Middlesbrough, Leeds, Manchester, Liverpool and Manchester Airport.

  1. Better journeys for rail customers as new Northern and TransPennine Express franchises confirmed

    • News story
  2. Massive boost to rail services brings Northern Powerhouse to life

    • News story
  3. Massive boost to rail services in the north-east brings Northern Powerhouse to life

    • News story
  4. Massive boost to rail services in the north-west brings Northern Powerhouse to life

    • News story
  5. Boost to rail services in Scotland as UK government awards next TransPennine Express franchise

    • News story
  6. Massive boost to rail services across Yorkshire and the Humber brings Northern Powerhouse to life

    • News story
  7. Rail franchising: Northern and TransPennine Express franchises

    • Written statement to Parliament
  8. TransPennine Express franchise 2015: invitation to tender

    • Guidance
  9. Future of Northern and TransPennine Express rail franchises

    • Consultation outcome
  10. Pacer vehicles withdrawal: seeking a ministerial direction

    • Correspondence
  11. Pacer vehicles withdrawal: confirming the ministerial direction

    • Correspondence
  12. TransPennine Express franchise 2014: prospectus

    • Guidance
  13. TransPennine Express and Northern rail franchises 2014: OJEU notice

    • Guidance
  14. TransPennine Express franchise 2014: pre-qualification documentation

    • Guidance

Wales and Borders franchise

  1. Wales and Borders rail franchise 2018 procurement

    • Guidance
  2. Wales and Borders rail: design of the new service

    • Consultation outcome

West Coast Partnership franchise

The West Coast Partnership rail franchise will combine the existing InterCity West Coast (ICWC) services with the development and introduction of services on the new high speed network, High Speed 2 (HS2).

The new franchise operator will run services on the West Coast Main Line from 2019. They will also design and run the initial high speed services from 2026 and the redesigned ICWC services when HS2 is launched. The franchise operator will need to set a new global standard in rail travel; bringing together the highly successful existing conventional Intercity West Coast Mainline rail services and the new high speed services.

  1. Grayling: West Coast Partnership to lay foundation for high speed future

    • News story
  2. West Coast Partnership

    • Oral statement to Parliament
  3. West Coast Partnership 2018: invitation to tender

    • Guidance
  4. Future of InterCity West Coast rail franchise

    • Consultation outcome
  5. Update on the East Coast, West Coast and East Midlands rail franchises

    • Oral statement to Parliament
  6. Bidders for 2 rail franchises named by government

    • News story
  7. West Coast Partnership and South Eastern rail franchise bidders

    • Written statement to Parliament
  8. New opportunities offered as details of new rail franchise are released

    • News story
  9. West Coast Partnership rail franchise 2017: prospectus

    • Guidance
  10. West Coast Partnership rail franchise competition 2016: expression of interest documentation

    • Guidance
  11. West Coast Mainline short term contract prior information notice

    • Notice
  12. Government announces new rail franchise for Inter City West Coast with the introduction of High Speed 2 services

    • News story
  13. Rail franchising: InterCity West Coast and HS2

    • Written statement to Parliament

West Midlands franchise

A commuter and regional franchise providing passenger services between Birmingham and the Midlands and major cities and towns including London (Euston), Milton Keynes, Northampton, Liverpool, Stafford, Stoke and Crewe. It also provides local and regional services across the West Midlands.

  1. More seats for rail passengers as nearly £1 billion is invested in Midlands services

    • News story
  2. Better journeys on the way for rail passengers across the West Midlands

    • News story
  3. West Midlands rail franchise competition 2016: invitation to tender

    • Guidance
  4. West Midlands rail franchise

    • Consultation outcome
  5. Three train companies shortlisted to compete for West Midlands franchise

    • News story
  6. Passengers asked for views on next West Midlands rail franchise

    • News story
  7. West Midlands rail franchise competition 2015: expression of interest documentation

    • Guidance
  8. New contract to make journeys better for West Midlands rail passengers

    • News story
  9. Rail franchising: West Midlands

    • Written statement to Parliament
  10. West Midlands franchise competition 2015: prospectus

    • Guidance

Specialist technical advice for rail framework

Rail franchising: further information

  1. Rail franchises: operational performance figures and benchmarks

    • Transparency data
  2. Rolling stock perspective 2016: DfT's aspirations for the rail sector

    • Policy paper
  3. Rail passenger franchise competition guide

    • Guidance
  4. Prior information notice for rail franchising from 2015

    • Notice
  5. Government response to the Brown review of the rail franchising programme

    • Policy paper
  6. Rail Opportunities Day, 22 May 2013

    • Promotional material
  7. Franchise competition high level process map

    • Guidance
  8. Franchise competition high level process map narrative

    • Guidance
  9. Railways Act: revised statement of policy on rail franchising

    • Consultation outcome
  10. Enforcement policy: rail franchise agreements and closures

    • Guidance
Published 3 October 2013
Last updated 7 June 2018 + show all updates
  1. East Midlands franchise invitation to tender and Cross Country franchise consultation.
  2. East Coast rail update.
  3. West Coast Partnership 2018 invitation to tender and Future of InterCity West Coast rail franchise consultation outcome.
  4. Nuovo Trasporto Viaggiatori SpA, Renfe Viajeros Sociedad Mercantil Estatal SA and Transdev Plc added to the list of PQQ passport holders.
  5. Oral ministerial statement on East Coast, West Coast and East Midlands franchises.
  6. Future of South Eastern rail services consultation outcome and South Eastern franchise 2017 invitation to tender and Great Western rail franchise consultation added.
  7. Wales and Borders 2018 rail franchise procurement.
  8. West Midlands Trains Ltd announced to run the West Midlands franchise.
  9. Published Rail franchises operational performance figures and benchmarks and East Midlands consultation.
  10. West Coast Partnership (WCP) and South Eastern rail franchise bidders announced.
  11. South Eastern rail franchise competition prospectus.
  12. First MTR South Western Trains Limited wins South Western rail franchise.
  13. Future of South Eastern rail services consultation.
  14. South Eastern franchise competition: expression of interest documentation added to page.
  15. West Coast Partnership franchise prospectus released.
  16. East Midlands franchise competition expression of interest documentation.
  17. West Coast Partnership franchise competition: expression of interest documentation added to page.
  18. West Coast Mainline short term contract prior information notice (PIN) plus updates to the rail franchise schedule and rail franchising PQQ passport OJEU notice.
  19. West Coast Partnership franchise.
  20. Metroline Rail Ltd added to pre-qualification questionnaire passport holders.
  21. Invitation to tender for the West Midlands rail franchise 2016.
  22. East Anglia franchise announced.
  23. Invitation to tender for the South Western rail franchise 2016.
  24. Rail franchising schedule.
  25. Updated rail franchising schedule, passport and rolling stock perspective.
  26. Rail franchising overview, aims and expectations published.
  27. Two companies shortlisted to compete for the next South Western rail franchise announced.
  28. Proposal for a new approach to rail passenger services in London and the south east.
  29. News story published announcing that DfT has officially signed the Northern and TransPennine Express contracts.
  30. Rail franchising pre-qualification questionnaire (PQQ) passport award announced.
  31. New Northern and TransPennine Express franchises announced.
  32. Added 'South Western franchise competition: expression of interest documentation' and 'South Western franchise competition prospectus'.
  33. South Western rail franchise consultation published.
  34. Rail franchising passport pre-qualification documentation published.
  35. East Midlands franchise awarded.
  36. List of rail franchising documents updated.
  37. First published.