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The latest news article from RTM talks about the First MTR joint venture awarded South Western franchise.

First MTR has been awarded the new South Western franchise by the government, which will see the introduction of 750 new train carriages to the network by 2020.

Pending the successful completion of a 10-day standstill period, the 70:30 joint venture will operate the seven-year franchise from 20 August 2017 until at least August 2024. But there is an extension option of up to 11 months at the DfT’s discretion.

Stagecoach, which has operated the network under the South West Trains brand for over 20 years, said it was disappointed to have not retained the franchise.

Over the course of the contract, the DfT stated that £1.2bn will be invested to improve journeys on the South Western network. It is also the first franchise award since the transport secretary, Chris Grayling, set out his vision for the future of the railways, and “marks a new era in joined-up working between train operators and Network Rail”.

“Following on from our announcement on the start of the South Eastern Franchise consultation, this deal is more great news for rail passenger,” he said. “First MTR South Western Trains Limited will deliver the improvements that people tell us they want right across the South Western franchise area, from Bristol and Exeter, to Southampton and Portsmouth, to Reading, Windsor and London.

“We are delivering the biggest rail modernisation programme for over a century and this franchise will deliver real changes for passengers, who can look forward to modern trains, faster journeys and a more reliable service.”

Read more at http://www.railtechnologymagazine.com/Rail-News/first-mtr-joint-venture-awarded-south-western-franchise-?utm_source=Rail%20Technology%20Magazine&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=8142196_RTM%20Bulletin%20Mar%2017%20wk%204&dm_i=IJS,4UIK4,2L5PRK,IBCTN,1

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