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Branson has lost it.

Community Veteran
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Registered: 01-08-2007

Branson has lost it.

I'm sure most of you have heard the recent news about Richard Bransons Virgin group having lost its big railway operating franchise..
Well today he's sunk to new lows of desperation in a bid to cling on to his rich-mans-only-toy that we call a public railway..
He's now offering to run it for FREE. No, do not adjust your browser or start the windows magnifier to re-read that, I really did use the word FREE.
Branson is so desperate to keep his little train set that he's now offering to run the service as a not-for-profit service so that he can continue playing choo choo trains. I think Mr Branson has got a bit too comfy up there in the world of billionaires and been brought to earth with an almighty thud personally. If he's that desperate to stay involved in the railways then with all of his money he could reopen a few disused lines or even get involved with some local heritage lines.
Full story here:
http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/article4505875.ece
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98 REPLIES
kmilburn
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Re: Branson has lost it.

To be fair,  as someone who has has to deal/live with First Great Western, one has to wonder why they were given the Franchise.  However,  given what happens with IT contracts, I guess it's no surprise that it's been given to a company that demonstrates incompetence at every opportunity...
Community Veteran
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Re: Branson has lost it.

134,000 people share the view that First shouldn't be allowed to run the franchise in an e-petition to the Government: http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/37180
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Community Veteran
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Registered: 12-08-2007

Re: Branson has lost it.

It looks like it will get debated in Parliament.  it will be interesting to see their tendering process.
I've never used Virgin Trains but know people who do and they say it is a good service.  Much improved since Virgin got involved.
nadger
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Re: Branson has lost it.

Virgin has had the franchise for about 15 years and never gone cap in hand to the government.
Never used them as they don't stop at Leighton Buzzard but they are a familiar sight on this line.
The public petition support for them must say something.
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Re: Branson has lost it.

Quote
He's now offering to run it for FREE. No, do not adjust your browser or start the windows magnifier to re-read that, I really did use the word FREE.

Only while the Government carries out a review (assuming they do). Branson thinks the PM and/or Osborne should be involved and they are both on happy hols!
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Re: Branson has lost it.

Quote from: artmo
I've never used Virgin Trains but know people who do and they say it is a good service.  

I have once, from London to Stoke-on-trent to collect a car. Very expensive but very pleasant and absolutely packed with people - not a spare seat to be found anywhere. It also had that rare thing that BR once had - a buffet car which was absolutely wonderful. Oh and it was the pendolino with tilting mechanism etc.
Now, don't get me wrong, I loved the train, it was a wonderful experience but I just don't agree with the way Branson is throwing all of his toys out of the pram like this - it makes him look desperate. At a time when Great Western are saying they will bring down ticket prices after the nation has been moaning about them for years and he claims it will drive them into bankruptcy, I think turning around and offering to run it free as non-profit is somewhat obsurd. Pot, Kettle.. I also think this freebie offer is nothing more than a epetition vote winner. Branson is a business and profit man.
I suspect the rolling stock will be transferred to Great Western anyway seeing as most trains are owned by banks and leased to the TOCs (another reason our railway network has gone down the pan but I shall leave that for another day). Apart from the buffet cars, onboard stewards and stewardeses I doubt much else will change to be honest. If Virgin do actually own their rolling stock then it seems pointless of Branson to threaten not to run another railway line - thats just selfish is he knows people like his service so much. This is cherry picking on the biggest scale.
Still, the epetition that is mentioned by Adair is very impressive.so there are clearly believers in the Virgin / former BR style of transport and that also clearly demonstrates the type of hatred the conservatives had for the BR style.
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Community Veteran
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Re: Branson has lost it.


Quote
He's now offering to run it for FREE. No, do not adjust your browser or start the windows magnifier to re-read that, I really did use the word FREE.

Note sure I understand 'FREE' in this context, does he mean FREE of all subsidy, isn't that good?
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Re: Branson has lost it.

In this context he has agreed to give any profits to charity
Community Veteran
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Re: Branson has lost it.

Charity which will no doubt be in the form of "Virgin trains appreciation society"  Wink
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Community Veteran
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Re: Branson has lost it.

The actual quote - if you had bothered to check in between making snide comments about Branson/Virgin was
Quote
“If this process means extending the current franchise beyond December for a few months, I and my partners at Stagecoach would happily run the extended franchise on a not-for-profit basis, or donate profits to charity. We must ensure that this crucial decision is taken with all the facts correctly assessed and understood.”
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Re: Branson has lost it.

Quote from: Oldjim
if you had bothered to check in between making snide comments about Branson/Virgin

Yes I had read that but if you bothered to notice, I was making a point about Branson making himself look desperate.
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Community Gaffer
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Re: Branson has lost it.

I think the point is more about the Government just giving the franchise to the company who will promise the most cash, rather than who will do the best job.  (Worked really well for National Express East Cost after all!)
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Re: Branson has lost it.

The thing with the government is that by meddling in the affairs of British Rail and trying to politicise everything they can get their hands on, they've wrecked our railways. You don't really expect them to get anything else right do you Kelly?  Wink
You know what to do, it's right below this text  Smiley
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Midnight_Caller
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Re: Branson has lost it.

I cannot express how terrible of a decision it is to take the trains away from Branson.