20 AUGUST 2012
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From Sunday 9 December the First Group will take over the UK main line train service known as ‘InterCity West Coast’ from Virgin Trains. Rail Minister Theresa Villiers made the announcement last week. It is a fourteen year contract.
As part of the deal First West Coast will introduce 11 new six-car electric trains enabling more seats to be provided across the franchise, including greater capacity on the Birmingham to Scotland route. New services are planned from Blackpool, Telford, Shrewsbury and Bolton to London. First West Coast has also committed to cut the cost of its ‘Standard Anytime’ fares by an average of 15% within the first two years.
The franchise stretches from London to Glasgow, connecting many of the UK’s major cities including Birmingham, Chester, Edinburgh, Lancaster, Liverpool, Manchester and Wolverhampton
Initially First West Coast will operate the timetable they will inherit from the current franchise but are seeking to introduce a number of new services including a London Euston to Blackpool service from 2013 and from 2016 services from London to Telford Central, Shrewsbury and Bolton.
Currently the East Coast main line is operated by a holding company of the Department of Transport following the failure of National Express. www.firstgroup.com
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