Railway plan blasted

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Plans to extend the time to bid for the franchise for West Coast mainline, which runs through Lancashire, have been criticised by union bosses.

RMT General Secretary Bob Crow said it “exposes the reckless high wire act that has taken the negotiations between Virgin and the DfT right to the very brink of the contracts’ termination.”

He added: “Because of the shocking ineptitude right at the top of this rotten government Richard Branson has muscled his way into a monopoly provider position on this mainline route and has extracted a longer extension than expected leaving it wide open to legal challenge. Pure right-wing ideology stopped this sub-Thatcherite Government from using the safe, efficient and cost-effective option of renationalising the West Coast.

“Millions that could have been invested in services, or used to keep fares down, has been blown on the West Coast shambles and millions more will be wasted as further pointless franchising exercises are carried out as the Government learns nothing. The case for renationalisation of Britain’s railways is overwhelming.”