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Old January 16th, 2007, 12:43 AM   #1
Skychaser 2005
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Could Leeds become Headquarters of new rail franchise

From the BBC website:


Virgin among East Coast bidders

A new contract for the franchise could be signed within 18 months
Rail companies Virgin and Stagecoach have announced they are bidding to run the East Coast Mainline.
The two firms said they were entering the contest to run the line, between Scotland and London, under a joint group called Inter City - Railways Ltd.

The news came as the government's deadline for bids passed on Monday.

Train company National Express also said it had submitted a bid, while FirstGroup previously said it intended to join the race.

Sir Richard Branson's Virgin company competed to run the service in 2005 but ministers awarded it to GNER, which first won the franchise in 1996.

In December however, the government advised GNER to pull out of the latest round of bidding after financial problems of its parent company Sea Containers were made clear.

Profits were hit by falling passenger numbers, rising power prices and the decline of Network Rail's compensation payments.

High-speed

A Department for Transport spokeswoman said she could not confirm which companies they had received bids from to run the service.

She said a shortlist would be released as soon as officials had "carefully considered" each bid.

Stagecoach and Virgin already work together in the Virgin Rail Group partnership and operate the West Coast Main Line and CrossCountry franchises.

Sir Richard said: "Together we have a breadth of skill in both high-speed operations and dealing with major infrastructure issues that is unsurpassed in the UK."

Value for money

Passengers' campaigners urged each of the bidders to ensure the line offered value for money.

Guy Dangerfield, of Passenger Focus, said he did not want to see work started by GNER go to waste.

He said: "We do not want to see things like station upgrades be lost or excessively delayed.

"The service to passengers should be at the heart of this."

A new contract to run the rail line is expected to have been signed within 18 months.




The Question is, could Leeds become the headquarters of a new rail franchise.

At the centre of the network, and with such massive developments, with the busiest station outside London, Leeds could takeover from York as the rail centre for the East Coast.
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Old January 16th, 2007, 12:47 AM   #2
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It may well do, but I wouldnt bet on it. GNER have quite a good position in York don't they? But Leeds being an economic hub could attract the new rail franchise. I doubt it would be Glasgow, Edinburgh or London. But being honest, I doubt it would move, unless there is good reason to.
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Old January 16th, 2007, 01:02 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leeds No.1 View Post
It may well do, but I wouldnt bet on it. GNER have quite a good position in York don't they? But Leeds being an economic hub could attract the new rail franchise. I doubt it would be Glasgow, Edinburgh or London. But being honest, I doubt it would move, unless there is good reason to.
I should imagine our HQ will still be at York for the time being, and if there was a relocation it would more than likely be in Leeds ! Of course I'll let you know, after the next Drivers safety update and bulletin.
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Last edited by mark*ie; January 16th, 2007 at 01:09 AM.
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Old January 16th, 2007, 01:06 AM   #4
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York has been a historical traditional railway centre since the steam age, and the infrastructure must all be in place there already? Also is York not more on the East Coast Main Line than Leeds, which is on a small diversion? Would be another kick in the teeth for York too...
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Old January 16th, 2007, 01:21 AM   #5
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I wouldnt call it a small diversion. Leeds is on a huge diversion really. It is on the principal line; its such a huge population centre it has to be. The frequency of trains pretty much splits at Doncaster- half going to Leeds, the remainder on towards York and Scotland. Leeds would be just as sensible as York; but Doncaster?
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