According to a prior information notice published in the Official Journal of the European Union, the briefings will set out the procurement schedule, details of proposed features of the two franchises, and background information.
The length of the ScotRail franchise will be a maximum of 10 years with a break option after five years. The franchisee will be expected to improve train performance, introduce enhance passenger communication facilities, including onboard Wi-Fi, and work with infrastructure manager Network Rail on major upgrading projects, including the Edinburgh – Glasgow Improvement Programme (EGIP) and the upgrading of the Perth – Inverness Highland Main Line. The winning bidder may also be required to procure new rolling stock.
The 15-year Caledonian Sleeper contract covers the operation of overnight services from London to Edinburgh, Glasgow, Fort William, Inverness, and Aberdeen. Turnover for the service in the 2011-12 financial year was £20m, but operating costs totalled £25m and the total cost of operation between 2015 and 2030 is expected to be around £375m. Investment of £100m is planned during the new franchise, around half of which will come from the franchisee. Transport Scotland expects this investment to drive growth in ridership as the quality of the service improves.
Tendering for both contracts is expected to begin in the second quarter of next year.