Transport for London (TfL) has confirmed four bidders have been shortlisted to operate the Elizabeth line when the current contract expires in May 2025.

The Elizabeth line is currently operated by MTR Elizabeth line (MTREL), which was awarded the contract in 2014, initially to operate the TfL Rail services and later the full Elizabeth line.

The contract, initially for eight years and then extended for another two, started on 31st May 2015, when the company took over the Liverpool Street to Shenfield services from Greater Anglia. The nominal value of concession payments payable to MTR over the base eight-year term was £1.4bn before performance adjustments (bonuses and penalties).

The ten-year contract is now coming up for renewal, and TfL has chosen four companies to shortlist in its tender process.

  • 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, Sumitomo and Tokyo Metro)
  • MTR (the current contract holder)

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 and will need to work with TfL, Network Rail and HS2 preparing for the operation of Elizabeth line services to the new superhub station at Old Oak Common.


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  1. Bruce Wayne says:

    Once again money that could be goiong to UK resources is being squanded for profit. For example Arriva uk is owned by a Private equity firm

    • ChrisC says:

      Any profit element is relatively small.

      The vast, vast majority of the contract value will be spent and taxed in the UK including staff pay and national insurance, equipment, utilities and other supplies etc etc

  2. Ronnie says:

    Why can it not just be operated publicly.

    • Phil says:

      Because operated publicly will increase cost and decrease quality… Look at the tube and the delays

  3. David says:

    Says a lot about this countries own railway companies if half of the names on the shortlist are all foreign owned.

  4. Brett says:

    Are these companies or the parent companies English owed. Because im sure Tokyo metro definitely isn’t

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