Virgin Gets Another Year on the West Coast Mainline

By Gary Cutlack on at

The Virgin Trains running up the middle and vaguely western edge of the country have been allowed to carry on doing exactly that for another year, with the Department for Transport signing an extension to the current franchise deal.

The complicated train reason for this is the looming presence of HS2, which is to be operated by a new franchise -- West Coast Partnership -- that will also take over the running of other services on the west coast line. This is so that everything works perfectly and to such an extent that commuters might momentarily think they emerged from that last tunnel in Japan.

A DfT's spokes-announcer headed off people like me getting it wrong and thinking it's a new contract, by explaining: "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." [ITV News]