West Coast franchise: FirstGroup defiant amid rail row

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FirstGroup chief executive Tim O'Toole has accused Virgin of crying "crocodile tears" after it lost the franchise to run the West Coat Mainline contract for the next 13 years.

Critics fear FirstGroup will not be able to afford the £5.5bn it is paying for the franchise.

But Mr O'Toole said that his company had "great plans" to "give a fair return to taxpayers and at the same time provide a better railway".

Labour wants ministers to delay signing a new West Coast Mainline contract until Parliament returns, and Virgin has offered to continue running its service "for free" while a review is carried out.

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