Virgin has been handed back the keys to the West Coast Main Line

Transport Secretary of the UK Patrick McLoughlin  announced that Virgin Rail Group would be retained as the route’s operator for nine to 13 months beyond the original deal’s deadline of December 9

On October 3, the previous competition to run trains on the line was cancelled following the discovery of significant technical flaws in the way the franchise process was conducted.

All other live franchise competitions, including the Great Western and Thameslink, were paused following the revelations.

A FirstGroup spokesman said: “We believe the private sector provides the most effective and efficient way to deliver passenger rail services in the United Kingdom . We await the outcome of the independent investigations into the ICWC franchise competition and the wider rail franchising process, which we hope will provide a greater degree of certainty and confidence not only to future bidders, but to employees, stakeholders and the travelling public too.”

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