Virgin Rail Group Shortlisted for West Coast Franchise

By Virgin Rail Group, PRNE
Wednesday, March 23, 2011

LONDON, March 24, 2011 - 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

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

- You can subscribe to receive alerts to new press releases by visiting

- 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

- 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.

For further media information contact Virgin Trains on +44(0)845-000-3333 or
visit the Virgin Trains Media Room website at

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