Maria Eagle MP, Labour's Shadow Transport Secretary, responding to the extension of the West Coast rail franchise with Virgin Rail, said:
“Passengers will be staggered to discover that this out of touch Government has spent more than a quarter of a million pounds of tax-payers money on negotiations with Virgin to extend their rail franchise by just nine months. There couldn’t be a better example of the out of date failed structure of our rail industry. With passengers facing an average of 8% hike in their fares every year for the next three years, it’s time to look again at the fragmented structure of the industry that yet again sees lawyers and consultants as the only winners”.
The Department for Transport was today forced to reveal in a Parliamentary answer to Maria Eagle that they have spent £121,000 on consultants and £62,000 on solicitors (£263,000 in total) to negotiate the nine month extension to Virgin’s West Coast main line contract.