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Saturday, 19 April 2014

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Virgin asked to continue running West Coast Mainline after franchise ends

Virgin has been asked to continue running services on the West Coast Mainline for another few months, the Government said today.

The temporary fix has been proposed by the Department for Transport following its about-turn over the award of a new franchise earlier this month.

Virgin’s existing franchise is due to end on December 9 but talks are under way about it remaining as operator for between nine and 13 months while a competition is run for an interim franchise agreement.

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin scrapped plans to hand over the London-Glasgow route, which passes through Cumbria, to FirstGroup because of mistakes made by his department during tendering.

Three transport department officials have been suspended while Mr McLoughlin has ordered two inquiries into what went wrong and put bidding for three other franchises on hold.

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