Tuesday 28 June 2022

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Virgin Trains
Intercity West Coast


The Department for Transport announced on 19 May 2011 that the Intercity West Coast contract would not be replaced until December 2012, confirming on 27 October 2011 that the existing Virgin contract would be extended to cover and now terminate on 9 December 2012.

Virgin failed to win the competition for the following contract, which was awarded to FirstGroup, but Virgin started High Court proceedings on 28 August 2012, alleging that the Department for Transport's calculations of future growth and revenue, and the associated risks, were incorrect. This claim was initially denied, but the DfT then announced on 3 October 2012 that the competition had been cancelled because flaws had been discovered in the process. Two inquiries were launched and all rail franchising suspended.

As an interim measure, Virgin was awarded a short contract lasting up to 23 months on 6 December 2012. This was a management contract which would have expired on 9 November 2014.

In June 2014 Virgin gained a new replacement franchise which was to run until at least April 2017. A further extension to September 2017 was revealed on 8 July 2015 when the DfT published another revised franchising schedule (there was no separate announcement by the Department), and the end date then become April 2018 (again, without any specific announcement).

On 4 November 2016, the DfT announced that the next West Coast franchise would be called the 'West Coast Partnership' and include HS2 when services started in 2026. The existing Intercity West Coast franchise was simultaneously extended by a further 12 months to April 2019.

Stagecoach Group announced on 21 December 2018 that a further 12-month extension had been awarded, taking the provisional termination date to 1 April 2020.

The DfT then announced on 14 August 2019 that the replacement West Coast Partnership franchise had been awarded to a consortium of FirstGroup and Trenitalia, and that it would start on 8 December 2019.

start date
22 June 2014
end date
8 December 2019

owned by
Virgin Rail Group Ltd (Virgin Group Ltd [51%]/Stagecoach Group plc [49%])

legal title
West Coast Trains Ltd

service area
Long distance services. London Euston-Rugby-(Trent Valley)/Birmingham and Wolverhampton/Stoke-on-Trent-Crewe-Chester-WrexhamManchester/Liverpool/Holyhead/Glasgow. Also London-Blackpool North/Shrewsbury from December 2014.

Virgin Trains

was replaced by
West Coast Partnership


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