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Virgin to run West Coast line

Rail operator Virgin has been asked to continue running the West Coast Main Line for another 9-13 months. The Government's temporary fix comes after its u-turn over the award of a new franchise to First Great Western earlier this month.

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FirstGroup responds to Virgin extension

FirstGroup, which had originally won the bidding for the West Coast Main Line before the Government's U-turn, has issued a statement after Virgin was offered an extension as the line's operator while the bidding is re-run.

The company makes no reference to Virgin, instead focusing on the future bidding for the line and, in particular, the findings of two independent reviews set up by the Department of Transport after the first West Coast franchise competition was halted.

We believe the private sector provides the most effective and efficient way to deliver passenger rail services in the UK. We await the outcome of the independent investigations into the West Coast franchise competition and the wider rail franchising process, which we hope will provide a greater degree of certainty and confidence not only to future bidders but to employees, stakeholders and the travelling public too.

– FirstGroup

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