Virgin Rail Group responds to today’s West Coast franchise announcement

December 10th, 2010

virgin-trains1Virgin Rail Group intends to bid for the West Coast franchise following a written statement to Parliament by Philip Hammond, Transport Secretary.

Mr Hammond told MPs that the next WC franchise would run for 14 years, from 2012 until the planned opening of High Speed 2 (HS2).

Welcoming the plan to award a longer franchise, Tony Collins VRG CEO, said, “Longer franchises lead to more investment, innovation and better services for customers.

“We are pleased the Transport Secretary has taken the longer-term view which will benefit customers.

“Virgin Trains has doubled the number of customers in the last six years – to 28 million – and has been the fastest growing franchise in that time.

“That is a direct result of the bold investment decisions taken at the start of the current 15-year franchise when it was decided to replace the entire fleet of trains, upgrade the track and add many extra train services.

“It is also down to the hard work and commitment of our people, who have shown the benefits – for customers – of longer franchises and this has clearly been recognised by the Government.

“We intend to submit a strong and deliverable bid to retain the franchise and continue the investment, innovation and customer service that have given us record customer satisfaction scores.”

Virgin Trains is the brand name of Virgin Rail Group. They have operated the West Coast passenger train franchise since 1997; the current franchise runs to March 2012.

Virgin Rail Group is owned 51 percent by Virgin Group and 49 percent by Stagecoach.

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