Elizabeth line: Tokyo Metro among bidders shortlisted by TfL to operate line

The current contract with MTR Elizabeth line is set to expire in May 2025.
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Transport for London (TfL) has confirmed the shortlist of bidders to become the next operator of the Elizabeth line.

The Elizabeth line has been operated by MTR Elizabeth line since its launch in 2022. The contract is due to expire in May 2025.

The shortlist of bidders is:

  • Arriva UK Trains
  • First Keolis Elizabeth line (a joint venture between First Group PLC and Keolis SA)
  • GTS Rail Operations Limited (A joint venture between Go Ahead Holdings Limited, Sumitomo Corporation and Tokyo Metro Co. Ltd)
  • MTR Corporation (UK) Limited
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MTR was awarded the £1.4bn contract in 2014 to the Crossrail project and the delivery of the Elizabeth line.

TfL says the next concession contract will be let on similar terms to the current deal, with an initial period of seven years with an option to extend by up to two years at TfL's discretion.

Under the new contract, the mayor of London will continue to be responsible for setting the fares, while TfL markets the services, as well as specifying the train service. TfL will retain the revenue generated by ticket sales.

The current Elizabeth line contract is due to expire in May 2025The current Elizabeth line contract is due to expire in May 2025
The current Elizabeth line contract is due to expire in May 2025

The Elizabeth line opened in May 2022 and provides services to Reading, Heathrow, Shenfield and Abbey Wood, running through central London with up to 24 trains per hour at peak time.  Since May 2022 there have been more than 300 million journeys on the railway.

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Elizabeth line director Howard Smith said: “The Elizabeth line has had a transformational impact, providing new, more direct journey options for customers, including at ten new central London stations.

“We have introduced new, more spacious trains, which run more frequently through 41 stations that were either newly built or modernised, supporting hundreds of millions of customer journeys each year. The new Elizabeth line operator will play a major role in supporting us to continue that growth and success, providing high levels of customer service and satisfaction.”

TfL says the new operator will need to work closely with TfL, Network Rail and HS2 preparing for the operation of Elizabeth line services to the HS2 "superhub" station at Old Oak Common.

TfL is also in the process of procuring the next operator of the Docklands Light Railway.

The organisations shortlisted are current operator KeolisAmey Docklands - a joint venture between Keolis and Amey - as well as ComfortDelGro and Connecting Docklands.

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