Bidders for mainline and HS2 revealed
RAIL operators from Italy, France, China and the UK are in the running for the contract to provide services on the West Coast Main Line from 2019 and the new HS2 high speed rail line.
The winner will run long-distance services on the West Coast Main Line and services between London and Birmingham on the £55.7 billion high speed rail line, due to open in 2026. The shortlisted bids are: A joint venture between UKbased FirstGroup and Italian operator Trenitalia
A partnership between Hong Kong firm MTR and Guangshen Railway Company – based in China – as well as several subcontractors
A joint entry by UK-based Stagecoach and Virgin, as well as French rail operator SNCF.
It means the current ‘Virgin Trains’ brand could be replaced.
The Government has decided to create a single franchise for the West Coast Main Line and HS2 because the opening of a new high speed network will have a significant impact on existing West Coast services.