Virgin Trains is one of three firms or partnerships bidding to run the West Coast Main Line train service when the current franchise comes up for renewal in April 2019.
The Department for Transport has this morning announced the names of the three bidding consortia which will vye for the contract to run services on the WCML, which runs from London to Glasgow and Edinburgh with many services through Manchester.
The three consortia looking to secure the contract are:
First Trenitalia West Coast Ltd, a joint venture between First Rail Holdings Ltd and Trenitalia SpA, the Italian state-owned railway operator
MTR West Coast Partnership Ltd, a joint venture between MTR Corporation (UK) Ltd of Hong Kong and China’s Guangshen Railway Company
West Coast Partnership Ltd, a joint venture between Stagecoach Group plc, Virgin Holdings Ltd and SNCF, the French state-owned operator
The West Coast franchise is currently run by Virgin Trains as a joint venture between Stagecoach and Virgin.
The winning bidder will collaborate with HS2 Ltd to design, launch and operate the initial HS2 services – between London and Birmingham and deliver the transition of the timetable on the West Coast Main Line as it is revised to take advantage of the extra capacity provided by HS2.
Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said: “The West Coast Partnership will support growth and better services on the West Coast Main Line while helping to ensure that HS2 becomes the backbone of Britain’s railways.
“This will create more seats for passengers, improve connections between our great cities, free up space on existing rail lines and generate jobs and economic growth throughout the country.
“I look forward to seeing the bidders’ innovative ideas to put passengers at the heart of the railway.”
Picture courtesy of JamesZ_Flickr, with thanks.