FS Italiane: the UK West Coast rail franchise awarded to Trenitalia UK and FirstGroup

InterCity connections between London, Edinburgh and Glasgow. Development of the new High Speed services between London and Birmingham (HS2).

Rome, August 14 2019

Trenitalia UK, 100% owned by Trenitalia (FS Italiane Group), and FirstGroup have been awarded the UK West Coast rail franchise (70% FirstGroup, 30% Trenitalia UK).

The British Department for Transport (Dft) announced the tender awarding today.

The West Coast franchise, for the period 2019-2031, includes InterCity connections between London, Manchester, Chester, Liverpool, Preston, Edinburgh and Glasgow. The franchise will also cover the development and introduction of the new High Speed 2 services from London to Birmingham (160 km).

The intercity services between London and Edinburgh/Glasgow transport 39 million passengers each year with 76 trains, ensuring 300 daily connections. The expected turnover of the franchise is around 1.250 billion of euro per year with expected growth in the coming years.

The fleet of 56 Pendolino trains will be completely refurbished, incorporating 25,000 brand new comfortable seats. By 2022 more than 260 extra services each week will be offered and ten new comfortable electric trains along with 13 bi-modal trains will replace the diesel-powered ones reducing CO2 emissions by 61%. In addition, solar panels and energy-efficient air conditioning systems will be installed in stations and depots to reduce environmental impact.

The HS2 high-speed line, once completed, will connect around 30 million people, and will be a catalyst for the country's economic growth with easier and faster journeys between North and South of Great Britain.

Trenitalia will bring, in partnership with FirstGroup, the ten-year know-how of the whole FS Italiane Group in high-speed and medium and long-distance transport while the rail division of FirstGroup will bring its deep commercial understanding of the UK railway market .

Trenitalia is already operating in the UK rail market with c2c, the English most punctual rail operator (95.6% in July 2019, which connects London to Shoeburyness in the Essex region (71 km). In 2018, c2c recorded revenues of over 215 million of euro, transported 46 million passenger with 80 trains for 405 daily connections. In April, c2c launched PICO4UK, the platform for electronic tickets already used in Italy since seven years; this platform allows UK travellers to buy tickets on integrated sale channels: automatic machine, ticket office, website and app.

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