“The seeds of Connex South Eastern’s difficulties were sown when the train operating company won its franchise with an over-ambitious bid. It indeed subsequently proved to be undeliverable. The Strategic Rail Authority lost confidence in CSE and took the difficult and finely balanced decision to terminate the franchise. The SRA went on to demonstrate that the successful termination of a train operating company’s franchise is feasible, and that taxpayers’ and passengers’ interests can be protected, through careful management of the attendant risks.
“This case highlights lessons to be learned, however, in how franchises are awarded and managed, which the Department for Transport must keep in view as it takes forward the responsibilities it has recently inherited from the Strategic Rail Authority.”