Abellio UK’s bidding strategy is based on a considered approach whereby bids are only made for franchises that are lower risk and which complement the existing portfolio. The preferred focus is regional railways and London-commuter railways.
In line with this approach, current growth plans are to add an additional rail franchise to the portfolio. To this end, in 2018 bids were submitted for the South Eastern franchise as part of a 60:40 venture with Mitsui and East Japan Railway, and for East Midlands. Abellio is awaiting the award decision for both of these franchises. If successful for either, there is expected to be a mobilisation period in early 2019 with start of operations in Q3/Q4 2019.
Abellio UK will also focus on further enhancing operational performance and revenue growth across the existing portfolio. 2019 will be a transformative year, with major time table changes and new rolling stock and associated service enhancements being introduced in a number of Abellio franchises, towards all having new fleets introduced by 2022. Making a success of this challenging undertaking will be a priority throughout the year. The introduction of new trains in 2019 and subsequent years is a key component of an investment program of over € 3.5 billion for new trains, depots and station enhancements.