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To see our content at its best we recommend upgrading if you wish to continue using IE or using another browser such as Firefox, Safari or Google Chrome. The Department for Transport (DfT) handed the contract to FirstGroup after Virgin's rival made an offer of A?5.5bn to run the line for the next 13 years - A?423m a year.
Tim O'Toole, chief executive said: "With a strong focus on service quality we will continue to invest in frontline staff and look forward to welcoming new employees to the Group, providing them with long term opportunities from an enhanced and reinvigorated railway.
The company, under the name First West Coast Limited, will take over the franchise from 9 December and is due to to operate the service until 2026.More seatsThe West Coast Mainline route serves 31 million passengers travelling between London, the West Midlands, the North West, North Wales and the central belt of Scotland. This comes down to whether FirstGroup can deliver on its promise to attract millions more customers to the West Coast mainline. The company will have to find an average of about ?390m a year in premium payments to the government (it's much less at the start of the franchise and gets much bigger as the years roll on).
If FirstGroup struggles, it could be forced to hand back the franchise early, which will cost it a lot of money and could put its other UK franchises at risk.
The government says FirstGroup's new trains should add further 12,000 seats a day on West Coast routes from 2016. In many other instances, companies manage to meet their annual payments while making losses.Under what is known as the revenue support scheme, the government takes on 80% of the company's losses. A suspicious device destroyed in a controlled explosion at Old Trafford, following the abandonment of Manchester United's match vs Bournemouth, "was not viable", police say.
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While viewing any Flickr photos page, click on the bookmarklet to open the same view on Flickriver. The government's finally ready to start the UK's rail franchise system up again after making an almighty mess of the process last year, with the first decision being to grant Virgin Trains an extension on its West Coast main line route that'll see it continue to run the line until 2017. Gizmodo UK is part of Future plc, an international media group and leading digital publisher. Part of the colossal Virgin Group, Virgin Trains has become a major player in the UK railway market, just as it has in the world of air travel. This is the main route for Virgin Trains and is the acknowledged West Coast Main Line, a vital artery taking passengers up and down the country all the time, often on the advanced Pendolino trains run by Virgin. One of three civil servants suspended over flaws in the West Coast Main Line franchise competition has criticised the Department for Transport.
More on this story Q&A: West Coast Main Line franchise 15 October 2012 West Coast Main Line row: Should railways be renationalised?
FirstGroup said it would introduce 11 new 125mph six-car electric trains on the Birmingham-to-Glasgow route and provide more direct services between destinations.
He said said Virgin's loss of the franchise was "very disappointing news" and added that his company's bid had been a realistic one."We did not want to risk letting everybody down with almost certain bankruptcy at some time during the franchise, as happened to GNER and National Express who overbid on the East Coast mainline," said Sir Richard in a statement.
Once added to your personalized homepage, just edit widget settings to select your desired view. The decision from Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin means that Virgin will still be running the line five years after it was supposed to have handed it over to rival operator FirstGroup, after losing the bidding process in 2012. Offering the convenience of a terminus at London Euston, Virgin runs five major routes up and down the country that serve both business and leisure users, and is now one of the top providers of rail travel in the UK.The main West Coast line runs from Euston up the western part of the country, through stations such as Stafford, Crewe and Preston, and northwards to Glasgow Central. Leaving Euston, trains run through Watford Junction and Milton Keynes - both important places for links to other networks - and then into the northern counties with Crewe, Warrington and Carlisle notable stops on the way, and the exciting city of Glasgow at the far north.
Running through historic Chester, the popular seaside towns of Rhyl, Prestatyn and others on the North Wales coast, this line continues across the beautiful Menai Rail Bridge into Anglesey, and northwards to Holyhead for ferries to Ireland.The Virgin Trains routes cover some of the most beautiful scenery in the country with the North Wales coast, the Potteries region, Cumbria and the Scottish Borders all impressive and worth a visit, while there is much to see at many of the stations - major and minor - along the route.

Group bookings may be subject to discounted fares as are Railcard holders and there are also discounts for booking online.An excellent journey planner allows you to devise the best route for your required trip, and there are regular updates regarding special offers and deals for Virgin Trains users. Neither I nor any member of my team had any responsibility for the economic modelling for this project or for any Department for Transport project. Meanwhile, the equally troubledA East Coast main line will be put back into private ownership, with the government planning to re-privatise the nationalised route within two years.
Edinburgh is reached by way of a line that terminates at either the Scottish capital or at Birmingham International, depending upon the direction you are travelling in.
Trains can go to Edinburgh thanks to links on some journeys.A branch after Rugby allows for some trains to head into the Midlands and serve both Birmingham City and Birmingham International, both important transport hubs for this area of the country.
Some people are saying they've bet the farm and everything they own on it," said Tony Miles of Modern Railways magazine.Economic conditions have already worsened since FirstGroup submitted its bid.
Alternative lines run from Euston to the Midlands connection at Sandwell and Dudley near Birmingham, from Euston to Liverpool Lime Street, and also from Euston to Manchester Piccadilly, giving Virgin coverage of most of the country. The BBC's Robin Brant said a source close to Mrs Mingay described her suspension as "bizarre" and said she had spoken out as the DfT had "not seen fit to clarify" the information.
The BBC understands that she has been suspended on full pay, pending the outcome of two separate investigations.
Richard Parry, a former director at London Underground, has been leading FirstGroup's bid for the inter-city West Coast services. Bob Crow, general secretary of the RMT Union, has slammed the West Coast deal as an exercise in "casino franchising".
Targets to meet on passenger satisfaction will be introduced for the first time in an InterCity rail franchise and passengers will also benefit from smart ticketing and from investment in stations.

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