The UK Department for Transport awarded Chiltern Railways, as part of Arriva Group, a new national rail contract (NRC) which will run from 31 December until 2027. The NRC contract has a guaranteed core term of 3.25 years subject to the discretion of the Secretary of State.
The contract builds on Chiltern’s track record of investing in trains and stations to attract millions more customers over its current 20 year franchise. In the last 25 years, the operator increased its ridership from 8 to 29 million passengers per year.
The new contract means Chiltern Railways will continue operating its existing services between London and Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and the West Midlands, providing journeys for business and leisure customers and connecting cities and towns to support the region’s social and economic recovery.
Under the contract, Chiltern has committed to continue and expand the trials of HybridFlex technology, to work on a business case for converting all diesel trains to hybrid technology, to introduce Delay Repay 15 (customers can make compensation claims when a train arrives 15 minutes or more late at its destination). The train operator will also improve onboard customer environment with new LED lighting and CCTV on the vast majority of trains and will implement a plan for a light refresh of train interiors with the owners of the trains.
“I’m delighted and proud that Chiltern Railways has agreed a new National Rail Contract with the Department for Transport (DfT) for the next 6 years. This gives certainty to customers and stakeholders and is a vote of confidence in our future and in the hard work of the Chiltern team which has made us one of the best performing train operators over many years,” Richard Allan managing director of Chiltern Railways said.
National Rail Contracts (NRCs) are a new structure for agreements with train operating companies and they replace the previous revenue risk-based franchising system. Under the NRCs, the Department for Transport will retain all revenue and cost risk and Arriva will receive a fixed management fee.