Valliant Virgin retains the West Coast Mainline

Posted: 06/12/2012

Virgin Trains will continue to run their West Coast mainline service for a further 23 months after an announcement was made today by the Transport Secretary, Patrick McLoughlin.

Initially, rivals First Group won the bidding process for the West Coast Mainline that is, until Sir Richard Branson decided not to back down and started a legal challenge against the decision. Now, a few months on Mr Branson’s tactics have worked perfectly and the original decision to award the West Coast Mainline franchise to First Group was scrapped and it was announced today that Virgin will continue to operate their trains up and down the country for a further 23 months.

Virgin has been running the West Coast Line service since 1997 and according to the stagecoach finance director, Martin Griffiths, ‘This is a good deal for passengers and taxpayers, as well as our business and Virgin Trains' employees.’ He continued, ‘We now want to press ahead and develop the West Coast business further, maintaining the high quality of service and bringing more improvements to our customers.’  

The transport secretary was also very pleased to announce that Virgin are delivering 106 new Pendolino carriages which will provide an extra 28,000 seats daily for the West Coast Mainline. These carriages have been created on budget and bang on schedule just before the start of Virgin’s new term.

Mr McLoughlin has ordered an independent inquiry into the franchise system after halting the bidding process as he believes it is vitally important that the rail franchise programme gets back on track as soon as possible. He believes that this will allow train operators to build on the already high standards of service to passengers and focus on making their services value for money.

Are you pleased that Virgin have retained franchise to the West Coast Mainline or do you think it is unfair that First Group’s winning bid was rejected due to legal proceedings my Sir Richard Branson?

Amanda McGovern, Pali Ltd
www.paliltd.com

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