SWISS RAIL has joined John Laing to bid for the Thames and Wessex train operating franchises.
The Swiss government owned railway company is looking to expand its growing overseas investment portfolio. It already has an agreement with the Italian national railways.
The company chose to link up with Laing after talking to other UK contractors. Laing is an 85% shareholder in M40 Trains which this month retained its Chiltern franchise (NCE last week).
Swiss Rail has a reputation for running a reliable and efficient rail network. The Swiss rail system has an unprecedented customer satisfaction level - something the company hopes to bring to the UK.
Although both companies said they were focusing on these two franchises, neither ruled out bidding for more.
The Swiss rail deal follows a flurry of similar bids by European firms to enter the UK market.
France's Via GTI has joined with Go Ahead to bid for the south central franchise. Go Ahead has also linked with Dutch Nederlandse Spoorwegen to bid for the South West trains franchise.