The Department for Transport has now published their requirements for the Northern and TransPennine Express franchises in the form of Invitations To Tender. They have also published a Stakeholder Briefing Document, which summarises the responses received to the consultation and explains what will be happening in the new franchises.
Tender specifications, setting out what is required of the bidders, can be found at the following locations:
The minimum service specification is set out in the spreadsheets accessible from these locations.
As you would expect, it’s a complex set of documents for a complex process, and analysing what it might mean for Marsden and Slaithwaite is a big task.
Paragraphs 4.20, 4.21, 4.22 & 4.51 of the Stakeholder Briefing Document are particularly relevant to Marsden & Slaithwaite.
Paragraph 4.21 states, in relation to intermediate stations between Huddersfield and Manchester that
“TPE bidders will be required to consult local stakeholders to understand and address any concerns they may have.”
The TransPennine Express Invitation to Tender includes the following:
In addition to the Minimum Evidential Requirements, Bidders’ responses shall cover as a minimum an explanation of how the Bidder’s train service proposals satisfy the needs of users of the intermediate stations between Manchester, Huddersfield and Leeds, as identified by the bidder through consultation with relevant stakeholders, as well as the needs of longer-distance passengers.
This obligation on the bidders is most welcome and, so far as we are aware, unprecedented in this or any previous franchise bidding process.
Along with our friends from Greenfield and Mossley, SMART will meet as many as possible of the bidders for both the Northern and Trans-Pennine franchises to push for the best possible train service for Slaithwaite, Marsden, Greenfield & Mossley.