LONDON, March 24, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Virgin Rail Group (VRG) is delighted that it has successfully pre-qualified to bid for the new West Coast franchise which is expected to start in April 2012.
Virgin has a proven track record over the last 14 years of providing better rail services for customers, including the renewal of the entire train fleet and the introduction of a high-frequency timetable. In the last six years alone, annual passenger numbers have doubled from 14 million to over 28 million and Virgin is now delivering industry-leading levels of customer satisfaction.
VRG Chief Executive Tony Collins said: "We now look forward to seeing what the government includes in the tender for the franchise. We intend to submit a very strong bid to retain the West Coast franchise, building on the investment and customer improvements we have made. We have plenty of innovative ideas and look forward to working with local communities along the route, as well as other stakeholders, to develop these plans."
The Invitation to Tender is expected to be published by the Department for Transport in May, with bids due to be submitted in August and a decision on the new franchisee announced in December.
Notes to editors:
- Images of Virgin Trains and the company's operations are available in the Image Library on our online Media Room website http://www.virgintrains.co.uk/about/media-room/
- You can subscribe to receive alerts to new press releases by visiting http://www.virgintrains.co.uk/about/media-room/
- Virgin Trains is the brand name of Virgin Rail Group. We have operated the West Coast passenger train franchise since 1997; the current franchise runs to March 2012.
- Virgin Rail Group is owned 51 percent by Virgin Group and 49 percent by Stagecoach
- Virgin Trains has been recognised in numerous industry awards. In 2010 the company has been named Best Rail Operator of the Year at the Travel Globe Awards (voted for by readers of the Daily Mail, Mail on Sunday and Evening Standard), and Best Rail Operator in the Group Leisure Awards (which we also won in 2009). In 2009 we were also voted Best UK Domestic Train Service by Business Traveller magazine for the second year running. Virgin Trains first achieved Investors In People accreditation in 2007and this was renewed in 2010; the IiP Gold award was achieved in 2011.
SOURCE Virgin Rail Group