140,000 sign petition opposing West Coast decision

Unions, politicians and many rail passengers are calling on the Government to delay the signing of a new franchise for the West Coast Main Line.

Virgin Trains is due to lose the service, which passes through South West Scotland and Cumbria, after First Group made a higher bid.

Labour wants the issue debated in Parliament. 140,000 people have signed a petition opposing the move.

First Group says its bid is deliverable and provides the best deal for taxpayers. It says it was selected in a fair, rigorous process that scrutinised best value and deliverability. It adds that it will be introducing major service improvements, new trains and will cut standard fares.

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Branson says PM must intervene in West Coast Main Line row

The Virgin boss has offered to effectively run the route for free to allow the decision awarding the 13-year franchise to FirstGroup to be re-examined.