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Richard Branson: commuters should not be worried about rising rail fares

Sir Richard Branson says rail commuters in the region should not be concerned about rising prices on the East Coast mainline.

Speaking on a visit to Newcastle this lunchtime he told ITV Tyne Tees that concerns about lack of competition and increases in fares were unfounded.

Virgin Rail and Stagecoach took over the running of the East Coast Franchise this week. They already run services on the West Coast line. There have been concerns from the Competition and Marketing Authority about lack of competition in some areas driving prices up.

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Pictures: Richard Branson visits Newcastle

Tycoon Sir Richard Branson is in Newcastle to inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs.

The owner of the Virgin business empire is at an event for young people at the Northern Stage theatre.

It comes just two days after a consortium involving Virgin took over train services on the East Coast mainline.

Sir Richard Branson in Newcastle Credit: ITV

It is three years since Virgin Money took over Northern Rock, the failed Newcastle-based bank.

Sir Richard with Brian Souter Credit: ITV

Sir Richard Branson amused the press when he pointing out that Stagecoach co-founder Brian Souter usually wears red trainers and that he had worn his to match.

Joking around on stage Credit: ITV
Virgin Start-Up event Credit: ITV

Police use new drug driving legislation

Police used new drug driving legislation shortly before midnight on the first day it was introduced. A driver was stopped on Marsh House Avenue in Billingham and provided a positive roadside drug test.

The 21-year-old man was arrested and taken into custody.

Officers from the Cleveland and Durham Specialist Operations Unit say they will continue to use the new legislation.

Weather: Risk of ICE

Credit: Met Office

Following showers of a wintry mix during Tuesday, icy stretches are expected to form on untreated surfaces on Tuesday evening and last into Wednesday morning's rush hour.

In addition, further showers are likely overnight which may lead to wash-off of salt.

These showers will be wintry over high ground, giving further local snow accumulations of some 2-5 cm above around 400 m.

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Richard Branson looking to inspire North East young

Richard Branson. Credit: PA

Tycoon Sir Richard Branson will be in Newcastle later to try and inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs.

The owner of the Virgin business empire will be attending an event for young people at the Northern Stage theatre.

It comes just two days after a consortium involving Virgin took over train services on the East Coast mainline.

It is three years since Virgin Money took over Northern Rock, the failed Newcastle-based bank.

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