17 Jan 2014

A joint venture led by integrated transport operator Keolis has been shortlisted to bid for the East Coast Mainline franchise, as announced (today) by the Department for Transport.

Keolis, which has joined with international rail operator, Eurostar, will draw on its global experience of operating long distance inter-city services to submit a final bid to the Department for Transport (DfT) later this year.

The partners' bid is set to focus on the combination of Keolis' proven franchise management skills and Eurostar's record of customer service delivery and product innovation.

The bid is being led by Elaine Holt, a highly experienced, senior executive with more than 10 years' experience in the transport sector. Elaine has previously held roles as chairman of East Coast and chief executive of Directly Operated Railways..

Alistair Gordon, CEO, Keolis UK, said: "We are pleased to be shortlisted for one the most important rail franchises in the country and we see this as a testament to the strength and quality of Keolis' and Eurostar's credentials both here in the UK and internationally.

"We will now concentrate on ensuring we deliver a robust bid that will detail a clear step change in the passenger experience and a renewed network for the long term benefit of UK rail."

Nicolas Petrovic, Chief Executive of Eurostar, said: "The East Coast franchise represents an important opportunity for future growth and investment. Over the coming months we will draw on our collective skills and expertise to present a compelling bid for this vital economic artery and key route."

Through its joint ventures in the UK (Southern, Southeastern, London Midland and TransPennine Express) Keolis currently handles 414 million UK rail passenger journeys every year – equivalent to one in three train journeys made in Great Britain – and employs more than 11,000 people.

Over the past 20 years, Eurostar has demonstrated a clear commitment to customer service. Since its transformation into a standalone corporate entity in 2010, the business has also delivered a strong financial performance with year-on-year growth in revenues, passenger numbers and profitability.


For further information please contact Marsid Greenidge, Head of Communications, Keolis UK on 07780 431 424 or email comms@keolis.co.uk

About Eurostar

  1. Eurostar is the high-speed train service linking St Pancras International, Ebbsfleet International, Ashford International, Paris, Brussels, Lille, Calais, Disneyland® Paris, Avignon and the French Alps.
  2. Eurostar was established in 1994 as a partnership between three railway companies: SNCF, SNCB and LCR (London and Continental Railways). On 1 September 2010, Eurostar became a single, unified corporate entity owned by three shareholders: SNCF, SNCB and LCR.
  3. The current Eurostar train was first introduced into service in 1994 carrying 750 passengers and operating at speeds of up to 300kph. Since then, the fleet of 28 trains has carried more than 140 million passengers between London and the Continent. Following their refurbishment these trains will continue to form a core part of the Eurostar fleet. The new Eurostar e320 will carry more than 900 passengers at speeds of up to 320kph.
  4. Eurostar is a founder member of Railteam, a partnership between Europe's leading high-speed train operators that is developing simpler ways to book and travel on the fast-expanding European high-speed rail network.

For more information about Eurostar please contact:
Eurostar Press Office
t: 00 44 (0) 20 7843 5500
e: press.office@eurostar.com