FirstGroup and Trenitalia join forces - eye West Coast and East Midlands franchises

FirstGroup and Trenitalia UK Ltd are to bid together for the East Midlands and West Coast Partnership franchises, which are due to be awarded in 2018.

As First Trenitalia East Midlands Rail Ltd, the companies submitted an Expression of Interest for that franchise to the Department for Transport on January 24. First Trenitalia West Coast Rail Ltd will bid for the West Coast Partnership franchise.

First Rail Managing Director Steve Montgomery said: “Both ourselves and Trenitalia have extensive expertise of running commuter, regional and long-distance services such as those that make up the East Midlands franchise.

“Similarly, Trenitalia has transformed the customer experience on Italy’s railways through its high-speed Frecciarossa routes. They will be a world-class bidding partner as we develop proposals to deliver excellent services for West Coast passengers and work closely with HS2 Ltd to deliver the best solutions for the new HS2 service, while reducing crowding on the existing network and generating economic growth up and down the country.”

Trenitalia Chief Executive Barbara Morgante added: “We believe that the experience, competence, innovation and skills of our two companies, developed in international markets, represents a perfect mix to vie for these challenging bids.”

Trenitalia has agreed in principle to acquire commuter operator c2c from National Express as part of long-term plans to expand into the UK rail market (RAIL 818).

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