STATEMENT RE: INTERCITY WEST COAST RAIL FRANCHISE AWARD
We understand that Virgin Rail Ltd a subsidiary of Virgin Rail Group, the joint
venture between Virgin Group and Stagecoach Group plc, has brought a legal
challenge against the Department for Transport in relation to the recent award
of the InterCity West Coast rail franchise to FirstGroup.
We have every confidence in the DfT's process which is rigorous, detailed and
fair and in which bids are thoroughly tested. There has been no complaint about
the process, which was carefully described in advance, until Virgin Rail Group
had lost commercially.
Our plans for the new InterCity West Coast franchise include faster journeys,
new trains, more seats and more direct services from London than currently on
offer. There will be improved WiFi, better catering, refurbished stations and
Standard Anytime Fares will be reduced by 15% on average within the first two
years. We look forward to welcoming passengers to their new and exciting
InterCity West Coast service in December and creating a better railway for all.
Our focus is to ensure a smooth transition with continuity for staff and
passengers alike. We want to get on with delivering the many benefits and
improvements we are offering without delay or disruption. We will continue to
prepare for a successful start up of the new franchise on 9 December 2012.
Rachael Borthwick, Group Corporate Communications Director Tel +44 (0)20 7291 0508
Michael Harrison/Andrew Porter, Tel +44 207 404 5959