Passengers make 37m journeys each year on services run under the West Coast Main Line franchise operated by Virgin Trains, which is led by Phil Whittingham, 47. Last year, the London firm’s owners, Virgin and Stagecoach, partnered with French operator SNCF to bid to run the first trains on HS2. In February, the Department for Transport renewed the West Coast Main Line contract until April 2019. Virgin Trains’ sister company, Virgin Trains East Coast, lost the right to operate the London to Edinburgh line in May after failing to make promised payments for the franchise.
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