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Virgin's interim franchise agreement

Virgin to be awarded interim franchise to run West Cost Main Line Credit: PA

Rail operator Virgin has been asked to continue running the troubled West Coast Main Line for another few months, the Government said today.

The temporary fix has been proposed by the Department for Transport after its embarrassing U-turn over the award of a new franchise earlier this month.

Virgin's current franchise is due to end on December 9 but talks are under way about it remaining as operator for between nine and 13 months while a competition is run for an interim franchise agreement.

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Transport select committee to hold inquiry into West Coast Mainline contract on October 31

The Department for Transport has many serious questions to answer about what went wrong with the West Coast Main Line franchise competition and the wider ramifications for the other complex contractual negotiations it is involved in, such as the Thameslink rolling stock procurement.

I have written to the Secretary of State to find out more about the reviews he has ordered, the staff who have been suspended and the reporting lines to ministers ahead of the hearing we will hold on October 31.

– Louise Ellman MP, House of Commons Transport Committee chairman

What the changes to the West Coast mainline mean

Virgin Trains have been stripped of the right to run services that link the North West to London and Scotland.

First Group's been awarded the franchise on the West Coast Main Line - and it's promising "substanial improvements" for passengers.

But the main rail union and some campaigners fear job losses and an increase in fares. We want your views after this report from our correspondent Ashley Derricott:

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