New Rail Franchise Invented to Run HS2

By Gary Cutlack on at

The government's created a new rail franchise to take control of HS2 and apologising to angry people on Twitter when the S isn't H enough, with the future high-speed line to be operated by West Coast Partnership.

The group combines the existing InterCity West Coast main line group that runs to the midlands out of Euston, and will start to exist, officially, from April 2019. That gives it a seven-year headstart to get its act together, should HS2 manage to hit its current launch date of 2026.

The West Coast franchise is a Virgin Trains deal at the moment, although they're not being handed the job. A tendering process will start next year, so the opportunity to be in charge of a new bit of train line could go to anyone.

Transport minister Andrew Jones said: "By combining the franchise we are ensuring we get the right people on board at an early stage to design and manage the running of both services in the transition stage. The new franchise will attract highly experienced companies, who have the right experience, which ultimately means a better deal for passengers -- both now and in the future." [GOV via BBC]

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