1. ITV Report

Virgin Trains granted contract extension on west coast mainline

Photo: David Cheskin/PA Archive/PA Images

A one year extension has been granted to Virgin Trains to run the main rail line between the North West and London and Scotland.

The west coast mainline connects London, Birmingham, Chester, Liverpool, Manchester, Blackpool, Glasgow and Edinburgh

It will remain under Virgin Trains' operation until March 2020.

This is not a new contract - it is a short extension period as allowed for in the current agreement.

The extension will ensure a smooth transition into the West Coast Partnership, minimising disruption and delivering the best value for passengers and taxpayers."

– Department for Transport spokesman

In June, services on the east coast mainline were brought back under public control following the failure of the Virgin Trains East Coast (VTEC) franchise.

Trains on the route - which also runs between London and Scotland - were subsequently run by the Department for Transport's (DfT) operator of last Resort, branded as London North Eastern Railway (LNER).