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29.10.12

Virgin East Coast bid ‘very likely’ – Sir Richard

Virgin Rail could bid for the East Coast Main Line franchise when it is put up for tender next year, Sir Richard Branson has revealed.

Following the initial award of the West Coast franchise to FirstGroup, it seemed as if Virgin would no longer be operating in the UK rail industry, with Sir Richard stating that it would be unlikely to bid for any other franchises.

However, Virgin was awarded a nine-month extension to the West Coast franchise as the DfT considers how to proceed with a new bidding process.

In an interview with the Sunday Telegraph, Sir Richard said: “If the process is fair, which I’m sure it will be, and open, which I’m sure it will be, then I think it’s very likely we’ll throw our hat in the ring on East Coast.

“What I would hope is that any new bidding process will take into account innovation, and the quality of ideas.

“We know what needs to be done on East Coast, and we think we’ve got the team to do it. It urgently needs investment and we’d be delighted to do it.”

East Coast has been operated by the state-owned Directly Operated Railways for the last three years.

Tell us what you think – have your say below, or email us directly at opinion@railtechnologymagazine.com

(Image of the railway at Peterborough copyright Ben Sutherland used here under a Creative Commons licence. Some rights reserved.)

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