7 NOVEMBER 2016
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A new rail franchise is to be created by the government combining the current intercity West Coast network with the development and introduction of the HS2 programme.
The franchise – the West Coast Partnership – will be responsible for services on both the West Coast Main Line from 2019 and designing and running the initial high speed services from 2026.
The government said it sees the franchise as the first step in attracting “a world-class bidding group” to develop and enhance the service for West Coast passengers and pave the way for the introduction of HS2 services in the future.
Transport minister Andrew Jones said: “We are embarking on a new chapter in our modernisation of the railways and we need world-class expertise to deliver it.
“HS2 will be the backbone of Britain’s railways, creating more seats for passengers on the West Coast and increasing capacity on the rest of the network. By combining the franchise, we are ensuring we get the right people on board at an early stage.”
HS2 Phase One, due to open in 2026, will see trains travel at high speed between London and Birmingham before running on from Birmingham on the existing West Coast Main Line.
All comments are filtered to exclude any excesses but the Editor does not have to agree with what is being said. 100 words maximum
David Starkie, London
An anti-competitive move by the Government. It will ensure that HS2 is not undercut by competition from classic west coast services. And, it will enable existing services to be cut to support the high-speed line. This is what happened in Kent with HS1.