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Search Begins For Next Anglia Rail Operator
Companies are being asked to come up with ideas on how they would improve the train services through Norfolk and Suffolk.
The Department for Transport's started the search for the next operator.
The current franchise - run by Abellio Greater Anglia - expires in October 2016.
A prospectus has been published outlining what potential bidders will need to consider when they start developing their detailed bids later in the year. These include:
- shorter journey times, especially for services into London;
- a service that meets the needs of commuters and leisure passengers in the region;
- easier connections with London's transport network at stations like Liverpool Street and Stratford;
- a more reliable service with fewer delays and cancellations;
- improved customer service;
- better passenger communication during disruptions;
- improved integration with local transport along the routes; and
- investment in and around stations.
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: "East Anglia has a thriving economy and I want it to be served by the best train services possible. Giving the region train services fit for the 21st century is vital to connecting people with jobs and businesses with customers. Good transport is central to our long-term economic plan.
"Today marks the beginning of the process to find an operator who can meet the demand for better, faster services and make a real difference to people's experience on the railways in East Anglia."
Bidders will be asked to consider achieving the recommendations from the Great Eastern Main Line Taskforce, including reducing London-Norwich journey times to 90 minutes.
Companies interested in running the franchise will be shortlisted following a pre-qualification stage. They will then be invited to submit detailed proposals later in the year. The next operator will take over managing the franchise in October 2016.
The current East Anglia franchise is operated by Abellio Greater Anglia who was awarded a two-year contract from 5 February 2012. In 2014, a further two-year Direct Award was negotiated with Abellio Greater Anglia until 16 October 2016.
The procurement documents are available at https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/rail-franchising#east-anglia-rail-franchise
The £1.5 billion deal will also see new fleet rolled out across the network.
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