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Richard Branson calls for overhaul of UK rail franchises

Amid concerns that many of the UK rail franchises are on the verge of collapse, Sir Richard Branson, owner of Virgin Trains, has stepped into the mix to suggest that the government needs to address the immediate problems. He believes strongly that the government needs to extend the length of current franchises in order to allow operators to look further ahead and invest significant capital for the future.

In all honesty there are very few businesses in the world which would invest the billions of pounds required by the UK rail network only to find that a few years down the line they lose their licence. Richard Branson believes that operators should also have more of a say in improving stations and services in general in order to give a brighter picture to the UK travelling public. There is no doubt that the ongoing concerns and financial troubles of some rail franchise companies will hit UK travellers at some stage, with indications of potentially inflation busting price rises on the way.

While the stronger operators such as Virgin Trains are willing to invest in excess of £1 billion in the longer term, there are signs that the system is unravelling with some of the weaker operators potentially on the verge of collapse.

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