The new agreements “are the end of the complex franchising system, require more private sector expertise and expertise, and ensure that passengers return to a more punctual and coordinated railway,” Williams said. FirstGroup said the new measures came into effect Sunday for its South Western Railway, TransPennine Express and West Coast Partnership, which includes HS2 and Avanti West Coast. FirstGroup and Go-Ahead, the Govia Thameslink Railway and Southeastern both welcomed the government`s approach. The ERMAs forced the operators and the DfT to agree on whether a payment was necessary to terminate the old franchise agreements and, if so, how much, based on the pre-pandemic negotiating conditions. The new contracts being negotiated – so-called ERMAs or emergency aid agreements – should be a new transition period in a radically modified railway, with the abandonment of the franchising system. A payment of $33.2 million is due for the South Western Railway. This corresponds to First`s share of the parent company`s assistance and additional funding commitments under the franchise agreement. To date, since the beginning of the pandemic, the government has spent up to $3.5 billion to cover losses to railways. It nationalized them in March, when rail franchise agreements were suspended. Under the old system, companies offer to operate services on lines with multi-year contracts. Railway operators then paid the state on the basis of ticketing revenues – but the pandemic destroyed this business model. At the beginning of the closure, the DfT announced emergency measures for the entire British railway, with passengers having already left the trains, even before the government asked all workers, except the main ones, to avoid public transport. The Office for National Statistics has stated that all train companies are almost temporarily nationalised under the current emergency agreements.
The department of transportation manager is ready to take over the rail franchise if no new agreement is reached. Steve Montgomery, head of British railways at First Group, said: “There is a lot of speculation.