Latest Rail News

13.09.12

McLoughlin voices support for FirstGroup win

The DfT is keen to press ahead with its decision to award the West Coast franchise to FirstGroup, new transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin told MPs.

Speaking to the Transport Select Committee, McLoughlin also confirmed that state-owned Directly Operated Railways (DOR), which runs services on the ECML, will run the line from December 9 if a judicial review delays the start of the contract.

He said: “I am satisfied that due diligence was done by the department and therefore the intention is to go ahead with the contract when we can. We are determined to press ahead with the award that we have made, but obviously we have to act within the law.”

Speaking about Virgin’s loss of the franchise, he added: “I'm very sorry that we seem to be in a disagreement with [Sir Richard Branson]. Anyone who has seen him operate and what he has done for transport infrastructure in this country would respect and take their hat off to him.”

McLoughlin stated that the Government is committed to introducing legislation for HS2 before 2015.

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