Britain’s longest-running passenger operator, Chiltern Railways, has been awarded a six-year National Rail Contract (NRC) with a commitment to decarbonisation at its heart.
It means the company, now owned by Arriva, will continue its 26-year reign on routes from London Marylebone to Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and the West Midlands.
Having won its first franchise in June 1996 (as a management buy-out), Chiltern made history by winning a 20-year franchise which from 2002 featured a massive programme of staged investment and expansion of services under the ‘Evergreen’ project banner.
The NRC starts on December 31 and runs until the end of 2027, with a guaranteed core term of 3.25 years. The remainder is subject to the discretion of the Transport Secretary.
The 504-page contract’s requirements include commitments to continue working towards decarbonising its fleet - a top government priority. A key focus is reducing emissions at London Marylebone.
Other commitments include introducing Delay Repay 15 (compensation for trains arriving more than 15 minutes late), installing LED lighting and new CCTV on the majority of trains, and a “light refresh” of interiors.
Customer service will be improved with Chiltern’s telephone lines open 0800-2000 seven days a week (currently 0830-1730 Mondays-Fridays), and social media (including live chat on the website) to be open from 0600-2200 seven days a week (currently 0730-1930 Mondays-Fridays).
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