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2006-12-13 DfT-001
Department for Transport


Franchise agreement reinstated for West Coast services

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Department for Transport

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Department for Transport

Franchise agreement reinstated for West Coast services

13 Dec 2006 00:00
source Department for Transport
type Press release

The Department for Transport today announced that it has reinstated the franchise agreement with Virgin Rail Group to operate services on the West Coast Main Line.

This replaces the 'Letter Agreement' that was put in place in 2002 following the failure of Railtrack to deliver previously agreed improvements to the main line.

The Franchise Agreement announced today puts the contract on a secure financial footing and will ensure that further benefits are delivered to passengers using the main line service from the end of 2008. These were outlined in the Government's progress report in May 2006 and include:

o 50% increase in frequency in London - Birmingham and London - Manchester services
o A further 30 minutes reduction in London - Glasgow journey times, so that travelling time is around 4 hours 30 minutes.
o London - Liverpool services will be 20 minutes faster than today and there with extra peak time services
o Hourly services all day between London - Liverpool; London - Preston and London - Chester
o Improvement in weekend services

The agreement also transfers services between Birmingham - Scotland currently operated by Virgin Cross Country to Virgin West Coast from 11 November 2007. An enhanced timetable will also be put in place on these routes from December 2008 and journey times between Birmingham and Glasgow and Edinburgh via the West Coast line will be 4 hours.

Rail Minister Tom Harris said:
"The letter agreement ensured passenger services could continue whilst the West Coast Mainline modernisation was rescued.
"Now the project is on track it makes sense to reinstate the franchise agreement. Many passengers are already benefiting from the increase in services, improved reliability and faster journeys.
"But this provides the opportunity to put even more services in the December 2008 timetable within the contract, and strike a better value deal for the taxpayer."

Further capacity enhancements are being examined as part of the development of the High Level Output Specification and longer term framework for the railways which will be announced next summer.


Notes to Editors:
1. The franchise agreement is effective immediately with the end date of 31st March 2012.
2. Subsidy: The profile for the remaining years of the contract is:

Year 2006/7 2007/8 2008/9 2009/10 2010/11 2011/12

REAL (£k) 72,485 274,553 294,622 243,672 205,331 172,135
Nominal (£k) 72,955 282,960 312,448 265,359 230,197 198,864

3. Services: The current timetable will remain in place until the December 2008 timetable change when there will be an increase in services operated by VWC.
4. Fares: Fares will continue to be set in a manner consistent with current policy
5. Performance: The re-instated franchise agreement will build upon recent improvements made in franchise performance on the West Coast. Target performance levels are scheduled for further improvement over the remainder of the franchise period until 2012.
6. Rolling stock: Class 221 diesel multiple units will be deployed on the transferred Birmingham - Scotland services with full 'tilt' capability
7. Further details are available from the DfT website www.dft.gov.uk

Railhub Archive ::: 2006-12-13 DfT-001


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