Rail Franchises: guidance for bidders

Information about Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) reviews of the award of rail franchises under the Enterprise Act 2002.



In March 2013 the Department for Transport (DfT) announced the start of a staggered programme to procure all its rail franchises over a period of 8 years.

Under section 66(3) of the Railways Act 1993, entering into a rail franchise agreement constitutes an acquisition of control of an enterprise under the merger control provisions of the Enterprise Act 2002. The Competition and Markets Authority therefore reviews the competition aspects of the award of rail franchises under the Enterprise Act 2002 with the aim of completing a Phase 1 investigation of the winning bidder for the rail franchise prior to the start of operations.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) assesses competition issues created by the award of a rail franchise. We have published 2 documents that aim to give guidance to bidders.

The first is a short guide to answer common questions about the process, aimed at potential bidders for franchises. The second is a technical document that describes in detail how the CMA will generally assess competition issues in this context, aimed at bidders and their advisers. They build on the process and assessment carried out for recent awards

Published 28 March 2014
Last updated 15 March 2018 + show all updates
  1. Guidance for bidders updated and rail franchise mergers guidance published.

  2. Updated version to reflect that the Competition and Markets Authority has taken over responsibilities from the Office of Fair Trading

  3. First published.