Money: First Trenitalia awarded deal to run West Coast trains - PressFrom - United Kingdom

MoneyFirst Trenitalia awarded deal to run West Coast trains

10:50  14 august  2019
10:50  14 august  2019 Source:

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First Trenitalia awarded deal to run West Coast trains © Getty

First Trenitalia will operate train services on the West Coast Main Line from December 8, the Department for Transport has said.

The joint partnership was awarded the West Coast Partnership (WCP) contract, which also includes responsibility for running the first HS2 trains from 2026.

But the DfT said the Government will “shortly launch a review” into the new high-speed railway, which was widely expected after Boris Johnson became Prime Minister.

It added that the WCP has been designed to ensure it can “implement the review’s outcomes”.

The department said the contract is a “significant move away from the previous flawed franchising system”.

Matthew Gregory, chief executive of FirstGroup, which owns 70% of the joint venture, said: “The differences between this contract and more traditional rail franchises were reflected in the terms set out by the DfT, which has resulted in a more appropriate balance of risks and rewards for us as operators.

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“The West Coast Partnership’s first phase allows us to earn returns on the significant investments in services and facilities for passengers but protected by a much improved revenue risk-sharing mechanism.

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First Trenitalia West Coast Ltd, a joint venture between First Rail Holdings Ltd and Trenitalia SpA. Other ambitions for this franchise include: increasing the reliability of trains by using the latest technology while reducing delays by encouraging the operator to work closely with Network Rail.

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“This will transition to a management contract in the second phase, ensuring we can really focus on using the respective skills and experience within our joint venture to deliver the desired benefits of the HS2 project for passengers and the country.”

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the award of the contract is supported by Keith Williams, who is leading a Government-commissioned review into the railway.

“This award is positive news for passengers, with more services, more direct connections and ambitious plans for a cleaner, greener railway, and also represents a decisive shift towards a new model for rail,” he said.

“It is a partnership supported by Keith Williams, built with the flexibility to respond to his recommendations and deliver fundamental reform to a flawed system.

“Meeting Keith last week confirmed our shared determination to deliver a future that puts passengers at the heart of the railways, and get our trains to run on time.

“That is why I have asked Keith to produce his recommendations for a White Paper, with fearless proposals that will deliver a railway system fit for the 21st century.”

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