what will the franchise merry-go-round bring?

As the next round of rail franchises draws ever closer, will customers see TOCs making realistic promises with a view to securing their future as an operator? 

The East Coast and West Coast London-to-Scotland lines are among those up for renewal and many TOCs are turning to specialist research companies to determine what would make the train more attractive to customers.

Would providing bicycle racks on platforms, expanding car parking and making stations into attractive community hubs get people on the trains or is it the two things that are largely out of the TOCs control - punctuality and price/value for money - that hold the key?

Either way, with franchise periods reportedly going to be around the 15 year mark there's going to be a lot of promising going on.

Only time will tell whether TOCs can deliver on them.