Virgin Aims to Reignite West Coast Rail Competition with New Service Proposal

<?xml encoding=”utf-8″ ?????????>

Richard Branson’s Virgin Group is planning a return to Britain’s railways, proposing up to four new services on the West Coast main line, which it previously operated.

Virgin has submitted proposals to run separate train services between London Euston and Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham, and Glasgow Central on an open access basis. This move directly challenges Avanti West Coast, operated by Virgin’s former rival FirstGroup. Two of Virgin’s proposed services would use train paths currently held by Avanti, while the Manchester route would also extend to Rochdale, a destination FirstGroup intends to serve with its Lumo brand.

Government policies have encouraged more open access rail services like Lumo and Grand Central to foster competition with main line operators. However, these proposals are controversial within the rail industry, with leaders viewing them as inefficient and the RMT union labelling them “parasitic.”

A Virgin Group spokesperson confirmed that applications had been lodged with the Office of Rail and Road, describing it as “just the first step towards exploring what might be possible.” They highlighted Virgin Trains’ legacy on the West Coast, noting significant reductions in journey times, tripling of key route services, and a rise in passenger numbers from 8 million to 42 million annually during their 20-year tenure.

“We’re confident customers would welcome Virgin Trains back, providing them with much-needed choice and competition,” the spokesperson added.

This bid marks a direct challenge to the troubled Avanti West Coast service and could reignite an old rivalry with FirstGroup. In 2012, FirstGroup briefly won the rights to the lucrative London-Manchester-Glasgow line from Virgin Trains, leading Branson and partner Stagecoach to launch legal action, although they were ultimately barred from bidding again in 2019, when FirstGroup took control.

Virgin’s potential return promises to shake up the UK rail market, offering passengers more options and potentially improving service standards through increased competition.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Most Popular

Your daily news source covering investing ideas, market stocks, business, retirement tips from Wall St. to Silicon Valley.

Disclaimer:, its managers, its employees, and assigns (collectively “The Company”) do not make any guarantee or warranty about what is advertised above. Information provided by this website is for research purposes only and should not be considered as personalized financial advice.
The Company is not affiliated with, nor does it receive compensation from, any specific security. The Company is not registered or licensed by any governing body in any jurisdiction to give investing advice or provide investment recommendation. Any investments recommended here should be taken into consideration only after consulting with your investment advisor and after reviewing the prospectus or financial statements of the company.

Copyright © 2024 GroovyTrades. All Rights Reserved.

To Top