West Coast to remain with Virgin
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin has now said the government is negotiating with Virgin for the firm to remain operating the line for “a short period, of around nine to 13 months while we run a competition for an interim franchise agreement”.
This interim agreement will “run until a new long-term West Coast franchise is ready to commence”, McLoughlin added.
The move suggests the government may now push the longer franchise deal to the end of the current round of franchise bidding across the rail network.
It is believed the collapse of the original deal will cost the government around £40m in paying back bidders’ costs and other expenses.