Branson maps out 2020 vision for NW rail stations

Michael Hunt

Sir Richard Branson has included the modernisation of the train stations in Crewe, Preston and Carlisle as part of his 2020 vision for the West Coast Main Line.

The founder of the Virgin group of companies said: "We are running 21st century high-speed trains through 19th century stations. For example, Crewe, Preston and Carlisle are basically great Victorian buildings crumbling away. We need to have 21st century stations. We would like the new franchises to be given control of stations so that the train operators can be incentivised to modernise them."

Branson was speaking at a press conference at London's Euston station about looking at ways forward for the UK's busiest long distance rail route to meet ever increasing passenger and freight demands.

He added: "With a £1bn investment we could, within 3 to 5 years, see our trains running at 140mph with reductions in journey times between London and all West Coast destinations. What we are asking is that the Government re-thinks the franchise situation to give train operators the opportunity to invest, grow the rail business and lessen the burden on taxpayers."

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