Bidders shortlisted in the process to find the next operator of the Elizabeth line

16 February 2024
"The Elizabeth line has had a transformational impact, providing new, more direct journey options for customers, including at ten new central London stations"
  • Next Elizabeth line operator to build on the success of the railway since launching in 2022
  • Growing reliability will be a focus for new operator along with maintaining customer satisfaction

Transport for London (TfL) has confirmed four bidders have been shortlisted as part of the procurement process to operate the Elizabeth line from May 2025, when the current contract with MTR Elizabeth line expires. 

The Elizabeth line is the most significant addition to London's transport network in a generation and it has been transforming life and travel in London and the South East, providing new journey options, reducing journey times, creating additional capacity and transforming accessibility. 

The Elizabeth line opened in May 2022 and provides services to Reading, Heathrow, Shenfield and Abbey Wood, running through central London with up to 24 trains per hour at peak time.  Since May 2022 there have been more than 300 million journeys on the railway.

The shortlisted bidders are:

  • Arriva UK Trains
  • First Keolis Elizabeth line (a joint venture between First Group PLC and Keolis SA)
  • GTS Rail Operations Limited (A joint venture between Go Ahead Holdings Limited, Sumitomo Corporation and Tokyo Metro Co. Ltd)
  • MTR Corporation (UK) Limited

Howard Smith, Elizabeth line Director, said: "The Elizabeth line has had a transformational impact, providing new, more direct journey options for customers, including at ten new central London stations.

"We have introduced new, more spacious trains, which run more frequently through 41 stations that were either newly built or modernised, supporting hundreds of millions of customer journeys each year. The new Elizabeth line operator will play a major role in supporting us to continue that growth and success, providing high levels of customer service and satisfaction."

The next operator will build on the success of the Elizabeth line, collaborating with key partners to optimise reliability, as well as sustaining the high levels of customer satisfaction and growth. They will also need to work closely with TfL, Network Rail and HS2 preparing for the operation of Elizabeth line services to the new superhub station at Old Oak Common.


Notes to editors

  • It is TfL's intention to issue tender documentation to shortlisted bidders during April with bid submissions expected in July.
  • The next concession contract will be let on similar terms as the current concession for an initial period of 7 years with an option to extend by up to two years at TfL's discretion.
  • A Prior Information Notice reference 2023/S 000-009695 ("PIN") was issued on 3 April 2023 that provided the market with an update as to the upcoming procurement, informing suppliers about early market engagement and inviting them to take part in it and the subsequent procurement process. This Prior Information Notice was updated on 24 October 2023 reference 2023/S 000-031324.
  • A prospectus was issued to those who had responded to the PIN in late May and Early Market Engagement took place in June 2023 to help provide more awareness of the opportunity and timeline and allow feedback to assist with informing the concession specification.
  • Under the new contract, the Mayor of London will continue to be responsible for setting the fares while TfL markets the services, as well as specifying the train service. TfL will also retain the revenue generated by ticket sales to be reinvested in improving the transport network. 
  • Staff currently employed by MTR Elizabeth line will transfer to the successor Operator under the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 (TUPE).
  • TfL is also in the process of procuring the next Operator of the DLR. The organisations shortlisted are:
  • Keolis Amey Docklands (a joint venture between Keolis and Amey)
  • Connecting Docklands (a joint venture between Go Ahead and Atkins)
  • ComfortDelGro