Today’s announcement that Virgin Trains will continue to run services on the West Coast Mainline will provide welcome reassurance to North Wales rail passengers, said the Secretary of State for Wales, David Jones.
The Department of Transport has confirmed that the new franchise deal will run for up to 23 months, after which the West Coast Main Line will be let under a longer-term franchise.
The line is the link between North Wales and the rest of the rail network, and the announcement will give businesses and members of the North Wales community certainty over future rail services.
Mr Jones said:
Today’s announcement will be welcome news to the many West Coast rail passengers who regularly use the service to and from North Wales.
This agreement with Virgin Rail will provide greater certainty for passengers and for the North Wales’ business community who rely on good infrastructure frameworks to link them to opportunities UK-wide.
The recent decisions this government has taken on infrastructure investments - such as the further programme of electrification for South Wales that we announced in July - are helping to show that Wales is open for business and a great place to invest. We have also now started the process of developing a strong and robust business case for the electrification of the railway line from Holyhead to Crewe.
Notes for editors
The 23 month franchise will run from 9 December 2012 until 9 November 2014 after which the West Coast Main Line will be let under a long-term franchise. The Department for Transport (DfT) will be able to shorten this period by up to six months if a subsequent franchise can be let on a shorter timescale.
In July this year, the UK government announced plans to electrify the rail network from Cardiff to Swansea and in the South Wales Valleys, including Ebbw Vale, Maesteg, Merthyr Tydfil and the Vale of Glamorgan.