Friday, 8 October 2010

Virgin fails to win extension

Telegrammed by Our International Correspondent
What a difference a day makes if you are Virgin Rail.

Last night the self-styled Big Red was lauded, somewhat improbably by the RSPCA, for the excellence of its animal breakfasts, which at least makes a change from the more self-serving of the industry award schemes.

Unfortunately every dog has its day and this morning the Saviour of the Jammy Dodger kicked Beardie Rail out of the franchise extension balloon.

This from the Pink 'Un:

"We won’t be accepting Virgin’s proposal for an extension. We think it’s important to open franchises to competition and we’re likely to get better value for taxpayers and the government,” said Transport Minister Theresa Villiers.

Whilst DafT plans to refranchise the West Coast route just before the Olympics (Doh!) there is still radio silence on when its own toy trainset - the failing Barbie Rail - will be returned to the market.

With the nationalised East Coast operator languishing at the bottom of the performance tables Eye would have thought that resolving this particular ownership issue was slightly more pressing.

Then again - perhaps not.

With Virgin West Coast bleeding time and effort to retain the franchise there will be an inevitable impact on the TOC's performance. Happily for Marsham Street this should make East Coast's dire efforts look almost credible.

Meanwhile, there is at least one piece of genuine good news.

With both AngloScottish routes turned into basket cases the clamour for an early start to HS2 will become deafening.