Virgin runs West Coast to 2017

The West Coast Mainline will be run by Virgin Trains until at least 2017, it's been announced.

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Author of West Coast report to give evidence today

Virgin is expected to continue to run the line for a further 12 months Credit: Matt Dunham/AP/Press Association Images

The author of the report into the government's handling of the West Coast Main Line franchise contract is due to give evidence today.

Ministers had initially awarded the contract to FirstGroup, but the deal was scrapped after significant technical flaws were found in the bidding process.

Virgin is expected to continue to run the line for a further 12 months in the meantime.

National

Transport Sec 'taking swift action' over West Coast Main Line

The government's transport secretary has said that his department is taking "swift action" regarding the controversy surrounding the West Coast rail franchise.

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said:

"The NAO has made a number of recommendations that mirror many of the findings of the Laidlaw Inquiry in terms of the work we need to do to strengthen our organisation and the structures within it.

"We are already taking swift action on this front and I believe the plans we are putting in place to ensure future franchise competitions are conducted on the basis of sound planning, the rigorous identification and oversight of risk, will prevent a repeat of these lamentable failures."

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National

Transport Secretary to appoint railway Director-General

Patrick McLoughlin will make made a statement to the House of Commons this morning.

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin today announced the appointment of a Director-General with "responsibility for all rail policy and franchising."

"We will ensure that we have the right mix of professional skills inside the department and, where necessary, from professional external advisers," he added.

Mr McLoughlin made the announcement after confirming that Virgin Trains would continue to run the West Coast mainline until at least 2014.

Failed West Coast Contract could cost taxpayer millions

A Virgin Train at a platform alongside a FirstGroup carriage
A Virgin Train at a platform alongside a FirstGroup carriage Credit: PA

The taxpayer could pay at least 40 million pounds for the mishandling of the West Coast Mainline Rail franchise.

Virgin Trains had lost out on the deal to First Group, but it was scrapped after flaws were found in the bidding process.

Yesterday Sir Richard Branson's firm was told it would run the route for the next two years.

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28,000 more seats for West Coast main line

The Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin has announced Virgin are to operate the West Coast Mainline until November 2014.

He said the Government is determined to ensure services are not only maintained but improved.

"We are determined to ensure not only that passengers continue to experience the same levels of service they have in the past, but that services improve.

"There will be a new hourly service linking Glasgow and London and we will also work with Virgin Trains to explore other service improvements.

"I am also extremely pleased that passengers will benefit from up to 28,000 more seats daily thanks to the delivery of 106 new Pendolino carriages on to the West Coast line which has happened on budget and ahead of schedule."

– Patrick McLoughlin, Transport Secretary

Virgin to run West Coast for two years

Virgin Trains have been running the West Coast line since 1997 Credit: PA

Virgin Trains are to continue running the services on the West Coast Mainline which connects London, Birmingham, Manchester and Glasgow for a further 23 months.

Virgin had been set to lose the West Coast contract which it has been operating since 1997 but the Government scrapped the bidding after faults by the Department for Transport were found with the bidding process.

The temporary deal announced by Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin means Virgin will continue to operate the line running from London to Scotland route until November 2014.

After this date the West Coast line will be let under a long-term franchise.

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