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Après-pose advice

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If Virgin Trains East Coast is having ‘revenue difficulties’ just three years into its franchise, what does that say about the ability to forecast rail passenger volumes and revenues much further into the future, for HS2?

According to journalist Tom Bower, when Richard Branson was planning to secure the renewal of the West Coast franchise, he advised then-transport minister Theresa Villiers to ignore the impossibility of accurately predicting future revenues over the length of a thirteen-year contract.

[Branson: Behind The Mask, Tom Bower, Faber & Faber, 2014, ISBN 978-0-571-29709-2]

The guaranteed profits and the opportunity to pose on engines for photographers roused Branson to plan his tactics for the renewal of the West Coast franchise in 2013, following the extension from 2012. To tilt the odds in Virgin’s favour, he visited Theresa Villiers, the new Tory transport minister. In the passengers’ interest, he told Villiers, the government should grant a long franchise in order to benefit from Virgin’s investment and experience. She should, he advised, ignore the impossibility of accurately predicting future revenues over the length of a thirteen-year contract, and also the certainty of disruption if construction started at Euston station for HS2, the high-speed train.

TV meets RB (Simpsonised)

RB advises

Written by beleben

January 23, 2018 at 12:16 pm

Posted in Politics, Transport

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