Go-Ahead Group - Greater Anglia franchise competition 2011

Go-Ahead Group

In 2011 the Department for Transport (DfT) launched a competition for the Greater Anglia (GA) short franchise award with a term ultimately set at some two and a half years. Go-Ahead Group (GAG) was one of three pre-qualified bidders for the franchise. IPEX was engaged by GAG to lead the engineering, rolling stock, maintenance and depots work stream. During the course of the bid period from April to July 2011 IPEX devised the ‘fleet’ (engineering, rolling stock, maintenance and depots) strategy, led and coordinated the team, and authored the corresponding bid Delivery Plan (DP). The fleet DP was completed on time and formed a key pillar of the overall GAG bid.


The GA short franchise was for a very limited term, covering the crucial Olympics event in 2012 soon after the franchise commencement and serving a vital role in the transportation of huge numbers of visiting spectators to and from the games, with key venues being situated on the franchise area – especially at Stratford. The franchise bid also needed to make the best use of the short period to build firm foundations and a good launching status for the longer franchise to follow in 2014. The GA franchise is a particularly complex operation with multiple rolling stock fleet types, multiple service groups covering a highly dispersed train service operation, and multiple depot and stabling facilities. Added to this the short franchise needed to make preparations for the abstraction of some services into the Crossrail operation when it started subsequently in 2015. The engineering, rolling stock, maintenance and depots work stream is a cornerstone of the franchise bid, especially during such changes, as it is required to underpin the timetabling and revenue aspirations as well as supporting all of the operations, customer experience, IT/systems, environment, property, HR and other functional bid components. GAG needed a particularly strong strategy and delivery capability for this bid work stream, one combining creative, articulate and experienced engineering bid writing expertise with confidence and competence on the practical delivery of rolling stock engineering, maintenance and operations.


As the work stream leader IPEX immediately led the gathering of available data on the fleets and the depot and maintenance operations and then established a close working triumvirate strategy team with the work stream leads for timetabling and revenue. With extensive experience of the franchise bidding process IPEX led the development of pioneering initiatives to showcase GAG’s solutions for addressing the usual quality and efficiency improvements sought for the franchise as well as setting out an optimum position for delivering leveraged benefits accessible in the subsequent long franchise. Notable amongst these solutions were the negotiation of significant investments by the ROSCOs in mid-life fleets during the short franchise to prove and demonstrate refurbishments, re-tractioning etc. that could then be ready to go immediately in the longer term franchise. Also notable was the business case evaluation of solutions for the Norwich intercity operation to quickly uplift the existing aging stock, with new traction and a comprehensive refurbishment, during the short franchise to enable a homogenous electric multiple unit (EMU) fleet solution to be developed and deployed across multiple service groups during the long franchise, accessing the economies and benefits of commonality in the fleet.

IPEX delivered creative bid strategies with deliverable implementation plans for the bid initiatives and formed these into bid content and structure in the emerging DP, following EFQM bid format.


IPEX’s particular mix of rail and rolling stock working knowledge and experience with a professional consultancy project delivery focus was invaluable under the pressure of a bidding situation and enabled the Bid Director to assemble a very solid commercial and deliverable bid, with the fleet DP as a credible but creative cornerstone. Although the GAG franchise bid was ultimately unsuccessful the fleet DP was the only DP to score more highly than the corresponding DP within the winning franchise bid, a testament to its standout credibility and creativity.