Login Register

Virgin Trains wins campaign to run West Coast Main Line services through Stafford

By Staffordshire Newsletter  |  Posted: June 19, 2014

Comments (0)

Virgin has won its campaign to operate the  West Coast Main Line train services through Stafford - with a pledge to raise capacity on the line.

The contract has been awarded for a further two years and nine months and government ministers said the new deal would mean a £35 million investment in improvements, including an additional 5,500 standard-class seats each day on the route between London and Scotland. 

 Virgin will also invest more than £20 million on modernising stations and improving passenger facilities.  Free wi-fi will be available at stations.

Virgin is converting 21 first-class carriages to standard class to improve carrying capacity, and is also spending £2.5 million on refurbishing the interiors of its Pendolino trains and £2.75 m illion on improving catering facilities.  The train operator, which has run the franchise since 1997, is paying the government £430 million underthe latest deal. 

Related content

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: "This deal will provide thousands more seats and better journeys for the tens of thousands of passengers who use these services every day. "The West Coast provides a vital artery between London and Scotland and it is crucial we do everything we can to improve services on this much-used route." 

 The new franchise deal comes two years after Virgin launched a legal challenge to the government's decision to award a 13-year franchise to First Group. The department for Transport eventually scrapped the First franchise, due to "significant technical flaws" in the bidding process.

Virgin Trains executive co-chairman Patrick McCall commented: "We're delighted to have reached a deal after some tough negotiations with the DfT. It puts the problems of 2012 firmly behind us and shows the clear benefits of a well-run franchise system. 

 "This deal is great news for passengers and taxpayers, with significant benefits for our customers, as well as a big increase in the money we pay to government."

Read more from Staff Newsletter

Do you have something to say? Leave your comment here...

max 4000 characters

YOUR COMMENTS AWAITING MODERATION

 
 

MORE NEWS HEADLINES