The Franchising Director explained the franchising proposition to the media in December 1994 and outlined the bidding process through which companies would apply to acquire Train Operating Companies (TOC). Financial and trade interest in the Franchising Director’s announcement was such that Office of Passenger Rail Franchising (OPRAF) considered it unnecessary to take out more than minimal paid advertising. 246 potential bidders received pre-qualification documents for the first three franchises to be let, South West Trains, Great Western Trains and LTS Rail. Speaking in front of the Committee of Public Accounts in October 1996, Roger Salmon suggested that “a good level of competition” had been generated for the first three TOCs for two reasons, both of which were related to OPRAF’s handling of the franchising process. Salmon announced in December 1994 that, in the interests of securing sufficient competition for the TOCs, he would ‘provisionally’ exclude the British Railways Board from the initial franchising rounds.