Oct 14, 2018

West Coast rail: Virgin Trains and Stagecoach net £51.2m in dividends

Virgin Trains and Stagecoach shared in £51.2m worth of dividends from the West Coast main line railway, shortly before walking away from another franchise. The details come after the firms' East Coast franchise collapsed in June, with the government losing out on £2.3bn. Virgin said strong performance had led to record payments for taxpayers. Virgin owns 51% of the operator which runs the West Coast main line connecting London to Glasgow - known as Virgin Rail Group - while Stagecoach owns the remaining 49%. The companies were also joint owners of the East Coast franchise. At the time, Labour and trade unions accused Virgin of costing taxpayers £2bn. Mr Grayling told the House of Commons in May that Stagecoach and Virgin had lost almost £200m on the failed East Coast franchise, but there had not been a loss to taxpayers "At this time". A spokesperson for Virgin Trains said that the West Coast line had seen "Industry-leading levels of customer satisfaction thanks to innovations such as automatic delay repay, free films and TV on board, and mtickets".

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