Since 1996, numerous authors have reviewed the franchising process in relation to both the level of competition it generated and the benefits it bequeathed to rail users and taxpayers. Despite the intensity of competition ultimately generated for the passenger rail market, it was for a long time unclear whether the private sector would actually bid for the right to run Train Operating Companies. For a variety of reasons, some unquestionably the result of events discussed in chapter three, many potential bidders viewed rail privatisation as something of an uncertain proposition. The degree of competition which ultimately developed among franchise bidders was considerably in excess of that which officials had expected. Accordingly, The Franchising of Passenger Rail Services had noted that franchisees would assume responsibility for managing all aspects of train operation and would be grouped in a way which made commercial and operational sense, had regard to markets being served and promoted competition.