FirstGroup wins rail extensions in DfT franchise shake-up

FirstGroup announced that its three of its five current rail franchises across the UK will run beyond their current planned end dates.

FirstGroup announced that its three of its five current rail franchises across the UK will run beyond their current planned end dates.

First Capital Connect, First Great Western and First TransPennine Express will all continue through their respective end dates, FirstGroup said in a statement on Tuesday morning.

The news comes after the Department for Transport (DfT) published for the first time ever a detailed, transparent timetable for all rail franchises over the next eight years, using a mixture of extensions to existing franchises and direct award contracts to ensure a better system.

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said that the new approach to franchising will: provide long-term certainty to the market; support the DfT's massive programme of rail investment; and deliver on the review of rail reform.

"The publication of the timetable setting out the return to rail franchising is an important development for the industry, enabling the private sector to continue to provide effective and efficient passenger rail services with further performance and infrastructure improvements," said FirstGroup's Chief Executive Tim O'Toole.

"In particular, the extension of our First Capital Connect, First Great Western and First TransPennine Express franchises provides continuity and consistency for our passengers and enables us to continue to deliver considerable improvements to services."

Shares were more or less unchanged in early trading, up just 0.04% at 198.27p by 08:15.

BC

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