8:50pm Wednesday 25th April 2012
THE names of rail operators bidding to carry Worcestershire commuters over the next generation have been announced by the Government.
Four firms, including the current operator and a firm backed by the German state rail company have thrown their hats in the ring to run the Worcestershire to London Paddington Great Western rail franchise.
The bidders, announced by the Department for Transport, are First Great Western – the current incumbent – Arriva UK, who are a subsidiary of Deutsche Bahn, National Express and Stagecoach.
They will set out their outline plans in May, and the successful bidder who will run the service for 15 years will be announced in December. The contract runs from April 2013.
Whichever firm wins, the county’s councils, politicians and business groups are united behind several aspirations calling for an hourly London service from Worcester, more regular and frequent train services and a journey time from Worcester to London of two hours.
The councils, the Worcestershire Partnership, the Worcestershire LEP and all three south Worcestershire MPs have also signalled the franchise operator must sign up to use a future Worcester Norton Parkway rail station.
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