\r\n\r\nShortlisted bidders for Great Western, currently operated by First Group, will be issued with an invitation to tender (ITT) in May 2012 with a view to announcing the successful bidder a year from now in time for the new franchise to start in April 2013. The new operator will have to oversee the electrification of the London - Bristol\/Cardiff main line, the introduction of new trains, and the transfer of London commuter services to Crossrail.\r\n East Thameside covers the C2C commuter service from London to Southend currently operated by National Express. The ITT will be issued in June 2012, followed in January 2013 by the naming of the winner. The new contract will start in May 2013.\r\n The Thameslink franchise will cover the Bedford - London - Brighton service currently operated as First Capital Connect, and will gradually take over some Southeastern services and all of the current Southern franchise. ITT will be issued in October 2012, with the successful bidder announced in May 2013. The seven-year franchise will commence in September 2013 and will include an option to extend it by two years.