Stagecoach pulls out of bid with Greater Anglia to run East Anglia’s rail network

Stagecoach has pulled out of the race to run trains in East Anglia. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Stagecoach has pulled out of the race to run trains in East Anglia. Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

One of the transport giants hoping to run trains in East Anglia has pulled out of its joint venture after disagreements over parts of the bid.

Private companies are currently drawing up proposals to run the train services from 2016, including mainline services between Norwich and London and branch lines in the region.

The government deadline for submitting bids is next Thursday [17th].

The new contract has been hailed by campaigners who claim it is key to their campaign and will pave the way for new trains.

The Government announced in June that there were three bidders on its shortlist, including a joint venture between Dutch-owned Abellio Greater Anglia and Scottish giant Stagecoach.

First East Anglia Limited and National Express East Anglia Trains Limited are also poised to submit bids to run the services.

But Abellio Greater Anglia is understood to be planning to continue with the bid without the equity partner after it emerged today that Stagecoach was going to pull out of the process.

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A Stagecoach Group spokesman said: 'We have been unable to reach an agreement with Abellio on elements of the proposed bid.

'As a result of that, and taking account of the other rail bidding opportunities that we anticipate over the next two years, we have decided not to proceed with an equity participation in the bid for the new East Anglia franchise.

'We have confirmed to Abellio our commitment to provide support and advice to the franchise if Abellio's bid is successful.'

Norwich MP Chloe Smith, who is co-chairman of the Great Eastern Main Line taskforce, said: 'It is surprising at this late stage, but the taskforce's priorities are unchanged. We expect bidders to respond to our high demands for the best for East Anglian passengers.'

Mark Pendlington, the other co-chairman of the campaign, said: 'It is good to know that we still have three bidders in the process and our expectations are as high as ever for them to deliver the improvements we have campaigned so hard for.'