Stagecoach and Virgin join with SNCF to bid for the West Coast Partnership franchise

Posted: 28 April 2017 | | No comments yet

Stagecoach and Virgin has joined forces with French high speed operator SNCF to bid for the West Coast Partnership rail franchise.

Stagecoach Group (Stagecoach) and Virgin Group (Virgin) has announced that they are joining forces with French high speed operator SNCF to bid for the West Coast Partnership rail franchise.


Stagecoach has a 50% share in the bid vehicle (called the West Coast Partnership franchise), SNCF has 30% and the remaining 20% is to be owned by Virgin, with the idea that services under a successful bid would carry the Virgin brand.

“This creates a powerful world-class partnership, bringing together the team which has transformed inter-city rail travel in the UK with the most recognised and capable high speed operator in Europe,” said Martin Griffiths, Chief Executive of Stagecoach Group.

High Speed 2

The West Coast Partnership franchise, which will run from 2019, includes the current West Coast services and the first few years of operation of the High Speed 2 (HS2) service.

“I’m delighted that SNCF has come on board, and together we will put forward what we hope is the winning bid for the next West Coast, and first HS2, franchise,” added Patrick McCall, co-chairman of Virgin Trains.

Expression of Interest

Virgin, Stagecoach and SNCF have already worked together on the first stage of the West Coast Partnership bid, named the ‘Expression of Interest’, which was submitted yesterday.  

“We are delighted to announce this next step in our commitment to UK rail, working with partners who have demonstrated their own expertise in long distance rail services and are highly regarded in the industry,” commented Guillaume Pepy, Chairman and CEO of SNCF. “We appreciate Stagecoach’s widespread expertise across a variety of transport modes and Virgin’s reputation for its renowned customer experience. In partnership, we will deliver a successful HS2 service for the UK.”

The partners will now prepare for the ‘Invitation to Tender’ which is expected to be issued by the end of 2017.