Three year-old in bid for next West Coast rail franchise




My son got all excited when he heard the news that the UK government had awarded the running of the West Coast rail franchise for the next fourteen years.

Aged three, he isn't really bothered that Richard Branson's Virgin service will reach the end of the line in December to be replaced by FirstGroup. That's just detail. No, what grabbed his imagination is that the government gives out railways for people to run.

He figures that the next time they dole out the keys to the tracks he'll be of working age and a shoe-in for the contract to be the next Fat Director* in 2026. He won't be fazed by overcrowding either; the answer's simple - build more track. Heck, it only takes a few minutes to build relief lines with his Thomas set.

This spells good news for long suffering passengers between London and the north west because, judging by our living room rug, there'll be at least three high speed routes to Glasgow by 2030.

* Point of Pedantry - In Reverend W. Awdry's Railway Series, Thomas the Tank Engine's boss was known as the Fat Director when the railway operators were privately owned (as they are now). He became the Fat Controller when Britain's railways were nationalised.

Peter Clee