Tycoon Richard Branson has said he will find jobs for any workers cut as part of plans to hand over the West Coast Main Line to a rival.
The Virgin Trains boss said any of the 451 workers employed by his group at Preston station would have access to jobs if they did not want to move over to FirstGroup which is due to take on the franchise to run the line in December.
In an exclusive interview, Sir Richard said he still hoped his group would continue running the line after he has launched a legal battle to try and keep it.
On Tuesday, he went toe-to-toe with FirstGroup chief executive Tim O’Toole in front of a parliamentary committee accusing the Government’s selection process for the award as “flawed.”
Speaking to the LEP, Sir Richard said: “We have a really dedicated team who are loyal to Virgin and I am really proud to have them working for me.
“I really hope that they will continue to work for Virgin Trains and we will continue to run trains on the route.
“Whenever staff are transferred to another company within the rail industry the TUPE (Transfer of Undertakings and Protection of Employment) regulations apply.
“The West Coast rail franchise is the only operating company within Virgin Rail, but all our staff have access to vacancies across the Virgin empire.”
Trade union bosses have spoken out of fears FirstGroup will cut workers despite its bosses insisting they planned to recruit new staff, invest in stations and put on new services when it takes on the service, which runs through Lancashire.
Mr O’Toole told the parliamentary transport select committee that his firm has assumed staffing levels would be the same, at least for the first five years of the franchise.
Asked what would happen after five years, he replied it was “very difficult” to predict.
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Preston
Sunday 19 May 2013
Temperature: 10 C to 16 C
Wind Speed: 16 mph
Wind direction: North west
Temperature: 11 C to 16 C
Wind Speed: 20 mph
Wind direction: West