New West Coast Main Line operator announced to replace Virgin
It has been announced by the Department for Transport this morning that First Trenitalia will operate train services on the West Coast Main Line from December 8.
The joint partnership was awarded the West CoastPartnership (WCP) contract, which also includes responsibility for running the first HS2 trains from 2026.
But the DfT said the Government will "shortly launch a review" into the new high-speed railway, which was widely expected after Boris Johnson became Prime Minister.
It added that the WCP has been designed to ensure it can "implement the review's outcomes".
The National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) have slammed the decision.
General Secretary, Mick Cash said: "The announcement this morning that First Trenitalia are being shunted on to the West Coast Mainline to replace Virgin/Stagecoach in the midst of the rail staff pension row is just another political fix by a Government whose privatised franchise model is collapsing around their ears.
"Instead of following the popular public sector route the Tories are taking yet another gamble on the crucial West Coast lines with one of the dwindling number of private operator consortia left in the game in a move that RMT believes is doomed to failure and sure to result in yet more rail chaos.
"RMT will take whatever action is required to protect out members pay, jobs, working conditions and pensions on these vital inter-city routes."