First Group wins Denmark/Sweden rail link privatisation bid in Øresund
Copenhagen Post: 06.07.2007
A joint bid between First Group and Denmark’s national railway operator has been selected to run trains between Sweden and Denmark
State-owned railway operator DSB has won the hotly contested contract to operate trains in the Øresund Region. DSB, which currently provides service on the Danish side of the Øresund strait, will replace Sweden’s SJ on the Swedish side starting in 2007.
DSB and its British-based partner First Group beat out SJ, Deutsche Bahn and Arriva to win the contract, which runs until 2015.
Denmark is expected to save upwards of DKK 1 billion by privatising the line, a savings of 25 percent over what it currently pays DSB for service.
DSB executives said the lower cost of operation would be financed by greater efficiency and through the sale of rolling stock.
Since the opening of the Øresund Bridge between Denmark and Sweden in 2000, the Øresund Region has taken on increasing importance for both countries. The Danish section, which encompasses the heavily travelled Coast Line connecting the port city of Elsinore with Copenhagen and its international airport, is the country’s second rail line to be privatised.
DSB lost the first privatisation, a west coast line, to Arriva in 2001. With the prospect of further privatisations of lucrative lines in Denmark, DSB has increased its efforts to win international contracts, but has had little luck until now. The win in its own backyard came as a result of the experiences abroad, the company said.
‘The decision shows that we can win contracts,’ Søren Eriksen, DSB’s chief executive, said.
The Swedish and the Danish stretches had been put out to bid separately. Experts said the choice of a single operator will allow traffic between the two regions to run more smoothly.
Commuter groups were also pleased with the selection of a single operator, which would help simplify ticketing and other administrative issues. But representatives for commuters on the Coast Line, which has suffered from widespread service disruptions, said they were most satisfied with DSB’s pledge that it would increase the number of trains in operation.