The leader of the RMT transport union, Bob Crow, has attacked the Government's decision to extend Virgin's control of the West Coast Main Line while a franchise bidding process is run again.
The union wants the West Coast franchise to be run by the Department of Transport in the public sector as is the case, at the moment, with the East Coast franchise. Mr Crow said:
This announcement is no surprise. The Government are ideologically opposed to public ownership of the railways and, in collusion with the private train operators, have stitched up a shabby deal that will enable them to rerun the whole franchise fiasco in a year's time.
Richard Branson and his shareholders are laughing all the way to the bank. Not only have they made hundreds of millions from the rail privatisation lottery but they have now scooped the rollover as well.
Mr Crow added:
We will continue to fight for public ownership of the railways, a position supported by the vast majority of the British people. This short-term political fix will not detract from the call for rail to be run as a public service free from the chaos and greed of privatisation.