Stagecoach and Virgin win East Coast mainline rail franchise

Bitterwallet - East Coast featured Stagecoach and Virgin have joined up to form a consortium and have won the franchise to run the East Coast mainline route. Get out the bunting and bottles of Warninks.

They've promised to invest around £140 million in the route over the next eight years, and will cough up £3.3 billion to the government for the contract.

The London to Edinburgh franchise has been publicly run since 2009.

That RMT union called the return of the franchise to the private sector "a national disgrace", which suggests they're not that happy.

The other bidders in the running included FirstGroup and a venture involving Eurostar and Keolis.

The Stagecoach and Virgin consortium, named Inter City Railways, said plans included 23 new services from London, and 3,100 extra seats for the morning peak time by 2020. It will also be rebranded Virgin Trains East Coast.

Martin Griffiths, chief executive of Stagecoach Group, said: "Passengers using the East Coast mainline will benefit from hundreds of millions of pounds of infrastructure investment and service improvements over the next decade. Together with Virgin, our innovative plans will give customers new services, faster and more frequent trains, and easier, more personalised journeys."

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin added: "This is a fantastic deal for passengers and for staff on this vital route. It gives passengers more seats, more services and new trains. We are putting passengers at the heart of the service. I believe Stagecoach and Virgin will not only deliver for customers but also for the British taxpayer."

However some people aren't happy. Take RMT general secretary, he said the contract was "an act of utter betrayal".

"The government has confirmed that it is bulldozing ahead with the re-privatisation of the East Coast Main Line despite all the figures showing that the current public sector operator is handing over a billion pounds back to the British people while delivering huge improvements in service and customer satisfaction."

The government reckons it always intended to return the route to the private sector, but transport unions have been pushing for the franchise to remain in public ownership.

1 comment

  • shiftynifity
    So back to rip off prices, no seats, no investment etc , because if you believe the bullsh*t coming out of Martin Griffiths,Patrick McLoughlin we are f**ked ,welcome to Britain 2014

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