The DfT required the new operator to have experience with high-speed trains and infrastructure, which is why all bidders cooperated with an Asian or European high-speed operator. [3] [4] In June 2017, the DfT announced that three consortia had been pre-selected to offer the franchise:[5][6] In August 2019, the DfT announced that the FirstGroup/Trenitalia consortium was a winning bidder. [9] The Avanti West Coast business began operating on December 8, 2019. [10] It is good news that this franchise competition has been imposed. The time has come for radical competition on the West Coast after HS2. Until then, there will be a competent operator who will implement a very credible offer. Keep dreaming if you think nationalization is coming, Micky Cash. In November 2016, the Department of Transport (DfT) announced that the InterCity West Coast franchise will be replaced by the West Coast Partnership, which will operate express services on the West Coast Main Line (WCML) and High Speed 2 (HS2). The West Coast Partnership (WCP) is a railway company in the United Kingdom for passenger trains on the West Coast Main Line (and its branches) between London Euston, the West Midlands, Shropshire, North Wales, Liverpool, Manchester, Carlisle, Edinburgh and Glasgow. It was founded in December 2019 and is currently operated by Avanti West Coast. Further efforts have been made to avoid problems with recent franchises, particularly Virgin Trains East Coast, through the use of a revenue forecasting mechanism and annual reviews. FirstGroup said there would be a “more appropriate balance between risks and opportunities,” but railway unions criticized the price. To this end, each of the ERMA requires the TOC to agree with the DfT by mid-December 2020 if and, if so, how much support or other payments from the parent company are needed to terminate existing franchise agreements.

If such termination sums are agreed, they would be due at the end of the ERMA term, the date on which the existing franchise agreement would also be contractually terminated. However, if the termination amount of an TOC cannot be agreed by mid-December, the DfT has the right to terminate this ERMA prematurely, with the TOC falling on virtually all existing franchise conditions from mid-January 2021. The fixed fee and total fee potential for each TOC are lower and more weighted for service delivery among the new ERMA compared to the emergency measures Agreements. MAMAMs shall not make any material changes to the cash or working capital arrangements established for these operations. Matthew Gregory, Chief Executive of FirstGroup, said: “The differences between this contract and the more traditional rail franchises were reflected in the conditions set by the DfT, which allowed for a more appropriate balance between risk and opportunity for us as operators.