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Keolis and Eurostar mull West Coast rail bid

Transport groups Keolis and Eurostar are reportedly ready to launch a joint bid to run the West Coast main line when the competition to operate one of the UK’s most lucrative rail routes starts later this year.

According to The Times the French consortium will battle with other companies including Stagecoach to run the line in 2017, when the current deal with Virgin Trains expires.

Keolis is 70 per cent owned by SNCF, France’s state-owned railway. In Britain, it is the junior partner to Go Ahead Group in Govia, the operator of the Southeastern, Southern, Thames-link and London Midland commuter routes into the capital. It also runs the Dockland Light Railway.

Eurostar operates services from London St. Pancras to Europe and is 40 per cent owned by the British taxpayer although chancellor George Osborne recently revealed he was looking to sell.

Keolis and Eurostar came second to Virgin in 2012 to run the East Coast main line rail service.


Can we look forward to Eurostar levels of customer 'service' on the West Coast Main Line? If so we can expect:

- Extremely high fares unless you are able to book several months in advance.
- Scrapping walk-on fares, forcing you to book in advance and pay through the nose if you miss a connection
- Cutting services to just one or two an hour to keep demand, and fares, very high
- Ripping out all the tables, forcing you to sit in cramped airline seats, many of them aligned with walls not windows
- Short-staffing the buffet, with queues of customers half way down the next carriage

It's this kind of service we can do without, thank you very much.

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