|From the rumour mill
At a time when everyone's waiting with baited breath to find out who's going to be operating our trains (such as remain) from next April, there seems to be a lot of rumours and not a great deal of hard fact cloating around. Alas, the only rumour that is NOT floating around is any thought of a reprive for the Melksham services.
Putting it all together ... I THINK that one of the bidders is being dropped about now - and it's up to that bidder whether or not they go public and admit it. The announcement is still scheduled for the week of 19th December and I've even heard it said that two sets of papers will be signed so that there are no authoritative leaks ahead of time with one set of papers just being torn up.
But coming from left field ... a suggestion that the announcemnt may be sprung on us next Wednesday.
In all cases / rumours, there's no suggestion we'll know any details which will trickle out and be planned after the main announcement. And that perhaps means that this will be a good time to do a little further lobbying!
I'm not exactly sure how the EXACT date matters to us as rail users, mind; it's certainly coming in the run up to Christmas and looks a bit like an "announce and run" where the folks concerned may be hoping that any fuss has time to die down before they're called on to answer it.
So who gets it? Ah - rumours for First Group, and rumours for Stagecoach, with perhaps the favourite being First Group and them being followed be Stagecoach and then talk of the SW trains franchise (currently held by Stagecoach) going to First. There's a lack of positive rumours for National Express but, frankly, I don't know.
ADDED - MIDDAY
From today's Guardian ...
Stagecoach is likely to lose out on two key rail franchises which are due to be awarded by the end of the year, and said bidding was at such a "fever pitch" that prices had reached unreasonable levels.
The firm, based in Perth, Scotland, recently missed out on the Integrated Kent franchise and expects to hear by Christmas that it has also failed to win the Thameslink/Great Northern and Greater Western licences. Stagecoach has not held discussions with the Department for Transport in recent weeks even though it believed talks would be necessary to agree terms on the two franchises.
Written 2005-12-08 06:18:41
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