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Virgin Rail: Rolling Stock

Volume 470: debated on Friday 25 January 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what progress is being made in discussions between her Department and Virgin Trains on the elongation of Pendolino trains from nine to 11 cars. (181442)

The Department received in 2007 an unsolicited proposal from Virgin Trains to extend their franchise for two years (2012-14), which included a plan to lengthen Pendolino trains, which was analysed in considerable detail. The Department concluded that this proposal provided significantly less value for money compared with the likely outcome of the refranchising exercise scheduled for completion in 2012. The Department is preparing its own proposals to introduce extra capacity on the west coast main line.