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South Western

East Anglia

What is happening now?

The present South Western franchise, operated as South West Trains by the Stagecoach Group, is scheduled to run until June 2017. Stagecoach had been in talks with the Department for Transport (DfT) regarding proposals for a short term contract to run services until 2019. However, the two parties were unable to reach an agreement so the DfT have decided instead to tender for a new contract to begin in June 2017.

The DfT held a public consultation into the future of rail services in the South West, which closed on 9 February. A stakeholder briefing document has been produced which summarises the responses to the consultation. We have published our response to the consultation on our website.

In February the shortlisted bidders were announced:

  • First South Western Trains Limited
  • Stagecoach South West Limited.

In June the DfT issued the Invitation to Tender setting out what they want bidders to provide in the next franchise. Bids were submitted on 7 September 2016.


The timetable for the next franchise competition started when the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) notice was published in November 2015. This was followed by a period of public consultation and the issue of the Invitation to Tender. The award is due to be made in February 2017 ready for the contract to start in June 2017.


Our role in the franchising process

We met with the DfT to determine our input to the next franchise replacement process and we continue to hold detailed discussions with the DfT to identify key issues. In Autumn 2015 we carried out research to explore passengers’ current experiences and aspirations for the future. This research informed our discussions with DfT and our further input to this franchise. You can read an overview of that research here.

In September provided advice to the DfT on the bidders’ delivery plans for the Customer Experience and the Stations elements of the tenders.

To view our National Rail Passenger Survey reports or to access these and our appeal complaints data through our Data Explorer tool, please click on the links below:

NRPS                                                                Data Explorer


 Transport Focus reports and publications

February 2016 South Western consultation – Transport Focus response
January 2016 South Western passenger research – an overview
January 2016 South Western passenger research – agency report

Click here for key Department for Transport publications


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