Unsolicited requests for franchise extensions are made from time to time by train operators. There is a need to apply consistency and fairness in evaluating these requests. This document sets out the process the department follows if it receives unsolicited franchise extension proposals. This process requires that the proposal first be considered on policy and legal grounds. If the proposal appears to meet the high-level policy and legal requirements, it will then be considered on deliverability, value for money and affordability grounds.