Virgin bids to continue running West Coast Mainline trains through Manchester

Aberdeen-based FirstGroup has teamed up with Italian company Trenitalia in one bid for the new West Coast Partnership (WCP), comprising west coast intercity services from April 1, 2019, and High Speed Two (HS2) operations from 2026.

The most high-profile route is the multi-billion West Coast Partnership rail project, which will design and run the HS2 high speed services between London and Birmingham from 2026.

Mr Montgomery added: "We have a strong track record in delivering continued modernisation and investment, alongside industry partners, through our rail operating companies Great Western Railway, TransPennine Express and Rail Operator of the Year, Hull Trains". "I look forward to seeing the bidders' innovative ideas to put passengers at the heart of the railway".

West Coast Partnership Ltd, a joint venture between Stagecoach Group plc, Virgin Holdings Ltd and SNCF C3.

First Trenitalia West Coast Ltd, which is a joint venture between First Rail Holdings Limited and Trenitalia SpA, were the first name on the list.

When the partnership was announced in January the companies also stated that they would together bid for the East Midland service, which will also not be awarded until 2018.

The victor of the WCP franchise will be expected to work with HS2 Ltd to launch the first services on HS2, taking advantage of the extra space it will provide for commuters on the West Coast Main Line.

By GCR Staff0 CommentsA state-backed Chinese rail operator has been shortlisted to run the UK's new high-speed railway, HS2.

Martin Griffiths, chief executive of Stagecoach Group, said: "We are pleased that the extensive expertise and strong track-record of Stagecoach and our partners has been recognised in the shortlists announced by the government for these two rail franchises, both of which are critical to the country's economy".

The franchise will also be responsible for the West Coast Main Line.

There are four bidders for the South Eastern franchise, which operates trains from Kent into London.

"After over two decades of rail privatisation the Government are still locked into this cycle of exploitation and failure". There will also be "longer trains with more space". "We will listen to what passengers say in the current public consultation, and we will seek to make changes and improvements only with their support".

Also bidding is London and South East Passenger Rail Services Limited, a wholly subsidiary of United Kingdom transport company Govia, which is the current operator of the franchise.

The union's general secretary Mick Cash said that the "same gang of old chancers, rip-off merchants and overseas opportunists have been lined up for another invitation to‎ jam their snouts in the trough at the British passengers expense".

  • Zachary Reyes