Branson hits back at East Coast rail franchise critics

Sir Richard Branson has hit back at critics who say the government has bailed out Virgin Group and its partner in the East Coast rail franchise.

In November, the government allowed Virgin and Stagecoach to withdraw from running the service three years early.

Lord Adonis, former chair of the National Infrastructure Commission, said the move could eventually cost the taxpayer billions of pounds.

Sir Richard said the deal had cost Virgin and Stagecoach £100m.

In 2014, Virgin and Stagecoach signed a deal to run the East Coast line until 2023, promising the government £3.3bn in premiums.

Read on…

Richard Branson: Early end to East Coast Rail franchise a ‘pragmatic solution’

Sir Richard Branson has defended the Government’s early termination of the East Coast rail franchise.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling has come under fire after announcing in November that a new East Coast Partnership will take on responsibility for both intercity trains and track operations on the route in 2020.

Virgin Trains East Coast, a partnership between Stagecoach and Sir Richard’s Virgin, had agreed to pay the Government £3.3 billion to run the service over eight years until 2023.

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