Passenger transport operator Keolis UK has been shortlisted by the Department for Transport (DfT) to bid for the West Midlands rail franchise with its joint venture partner Go-Ahead.
The partners’ long-term joint venture, Govia (Go-Ahead 65%, Keolis 35%), has operated the franchise since 2007 under the London Midland brand. It will now put forward a bid to retain the franchise from October 2017.
Alistair Gordon, CEO, Keolis UK, said: “Keolis and Go-Ahead have been operating successful suburban and regional rail networks together in the UK since 1996. We welcome this opportunity to retain the West Midlands franchise and to continue to improve the passenger experience across these key routes.”
The West Midlands franchise includes a combination of commuter and long-distance services spanning the Midlands, South East and North West as well as services to London Euston and Liverpool Lime Street.
Keolis and Go-Ahead have an established track record of successful joint ventures and currently operate the UK’s largest rail franchise - Thameslink, Southern and Great Northern (TSGN) – as well as Southeastern.
The DfT is expected to issue the invitation to tender in July 2016, for the submission of bids in November 2016. A decision on the successful bidder is expected in June 2017.