To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what estimate his Department has made of the minimum and maximum (a) start-up and (b) annual running costs of establishing a government-owned company to bid for rail service contracts.
1 September 2014
It is the policy of this Government, and has been for all Governments since 1993, that private sector companies compete to run passenger rail franchises. The Department for Transport has set out clearly how it will do this through its franchising programme. This programme is providing millions of pounds of benefits for passengers and billions of pounds for taxpayers across the network from franchise awards like the recent Essex Thameside and Thameslink, Southern Great Northern franchises. The Department is making good progress towards the award of the InterCity East Coast franchise, expected in March 2015 and continuing the development of the Northern and TransPennine Express franchises, which we expect to announce the shortlisted bidders for shortly. As such, no estimate has been made of the potential costs of establishing a public sector body to participate in these competitions.