Britain’s railways need investment
- By Richard Branson -
- Mar 04, 2013
Passengers using the East Coast mainline continue to suffer from lack of investment due to a series of botched franchises on that route. Virgin Trains were runners-up three times and on the two most recent occasions the winners ended running into serious financial trouble by overbidding. The route was nationalised and has drifted with little investment or upgrade since then and as a result passengers have suffered. If our bid had been accepted there would be new trains running on upgraded track right now.
Governments – whatever party is in power - cannot and should not attempt to run companies; its key priority should be to get franchising back on track as soon as possible. The Department for Transport is expected to announce franchising news in April and we await the update with interest.
Britain’s railway network requires much-needed investment. The sooner a new franchise system is in place, the sooner this can happen and the better it will be for the passengers and the taxpayer. Talk of a further five year delay to re-letting the East Coast is hopefully just that. Talk.
By Richard Branson. Founder of Virgin Group