The Government has formally released the invitation to tender (ITT) to run and improve the main rail route through Retford, the East Coast line.
The ITT will ask bidders to set out detailed proposals explaining how they will build on the multi-billion pound investment planned for the East Coast Main Line, and what improvements in passenger services they will deliver should they win the franchise.
Rail Minister Stephen Hammond MP said: “Franchising has been a force for good for our railways, delivering record growth to an industry that was in decline.”
“The time is now right for us to find a long-term partner for the East Coast franchise, who can use their private sector expertise and knowledge to build on the significant investment planned for the route.”
“I want to see innovative bids that provide value for money for the taxpayer and deliver improved services for passengers and local businesses.”
The East Coast is the first InterCity franchise to be let since the launch of the Department for Transport’s new franchising schedule last March, and has been developed in close consultation with the rail industry and the independent Franchise Advisory Panel.
It is anticipated the successful bidder will be announced in November.
The new franchise will start in March 2015 and run for eight years with the possibility of a one-year extension.