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Railhub Archive
1997-03-13 RTK-002
Railtrack plc


Railtrack and Virgin confirm WCML plans

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West Coast Main Line

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Railtrack plc

Railtrack and Virgin confirm WCML plans

13 March 1997
source Railtrack plc
type Press release

Railtrack PLC and Virgin Rail Group (Virgin) are pleased to announce that they have agreed proposals for Stage 1 to upgrade the West Coast Main Line. This will provide the infrastructure to allow Virgin to run tilting trains at an increased maximum speed of 200kph (from 175kph) on all principal West Coast routes by 2002 and is in line with the terms of the 15 year franchise awarded by OPRAF recently.

The announcement was made at a meeting of the WCML All Party Group at the House of Commons yesterday and demonstrates both companies' commitment to bring Britain's railway system to new levels of efficiency and punctuality.

Railtrack, which owns the track, signalling and stations, plans to invest £1.5 billion on the network. Gil Howarth, Director Major Projects at Railtrack said:

"We are delighted that Virgin has taken up the option to include the upgrade for tilting trains as part of the modernisation programme. We are looking forward to working closely together to define the scope of the programme and ensure that the project is swiftly progressed."

Virgin Rail Group Director, Will Whitehorn commented: "We are delighted to have signed our first upgrade agreement with Railtrack to achieve a 200kph railway by 2002. We view this agreement as a commercial partnership and both parties intend to build on it with the ambition of creating a 225kph service by 2005. However, in the near future people expect a reliable railway and Virgin and Railtrack will make that the priority for the next year."

The West Coast Main Line is the most intensively used route on the railway linking London to Glasgow as well as Birmingham, Manchester and Liverpool.

Railhub Archive ::: 1997-03-13 RTK-002


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