This is odd, of course, because Abellio is merely a bidder for the next franchise, which is currently held by FirstGroup. The reason for this, apparently, is that the electrification is scheduled to take place sufficiently soon after the next franchise begins in 2015 that procurement needs to start ASAP. Consequently, the other three or four bidders may well publicising their own pre-qualifying tender announcements in the coming weeks.
The bizarre upshot is that train suppliers will have to submit bids to would-be operators that will not win the franchise, costing them an estimated £50,000 a time, according to one source.
Such states of affairs were apparently relatively common in the early days of franchising and have sometimes occurred more recently. Suppliers have little choice but to lump it, apparently. What a curious way to run a railway, eh?
TECH enthusiasts should take note that Vint Cerf, Google's pontificator par excellence and one of the internet's founders, will be keynote speaker at this year's ScotSoft conference at the Sheraton Grand in Edinburgh on Thursday. Organised by industry association ScotlandIS, other draws will include two more from Silicon Valley: Larry Cable of cloud computing specialist salesforce.com and Heidi Roizen, a venture capitalist and academic who sits on the board of TiVo. Chips with everything!