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STAGECOACH-VIRGIN BID SHORTLISTED FOR INTERCITY EAST COAST RAIL FRANCHISE

Press Release   •   Feb 19, 2007 23:00 GMT

Stagecoach Group plc and the Virgin Group of Companies are pleased to confirm that they have been jointly shortlisted by the Department for Transport (“DfT”) to bid for the InterCity East Coast rail franchise.

Both groups are bidding for the franchise under a 50:50 joint venture company, inter city – railways ltd.

Brian Souter, Stagecoach Group Chief Executive, said: “We are delighted to have been shortlisted for what is one of the UK’s flagship routes. Rail passengers will be at the heart of our innovative plans for the franchise and we look forward to working closely with local stakeholders to develop our proposals. We are committed to providing passengers with a consistently safe, high-quality, fast, frequent and reliable service that will set a benchmark for rail travel in the UK.”

Sir Richard Branson, Virgin Group Founder, added: "This is an exciting opportunity that comes at a time when we are enjoying increasing success and growth on our two existing franchises, Virgin West Coast and Virgin CrossCountry. We will put in a strong bid that is highly competitive, deliverable and will offer lasting improvements to millions of customers."

ENDS

For further information, please contact:
Stagecoach GroupSteve Stewart, Head of Media and Public AffairsTel: 01738 442111 or mobile: 07764 774680email:steven.stewart@stagecoachgroup.com

Virgin Group
Will Whitehorn, Director, Virgin GroupTel: 020 7229 4738 or mobile 07941 228844email:will.whitehorn@virgin.co.uk

NOTES TO EDITORS

Stagecoach Group
Stagecoach Group is a leading international transportation group, with extensive bus and rail operations in the UK and North America. The Group's businesses operate around 12,000 vehicles and rolling stock, and employ around 27,000 people.

Stagecoach operates South West Trains, the UK's biggest commuter rail franchise, which runs nearly 1700 trains a day in the south-west of England out of London Waterloo. The Group also runs Island Line, the country’s smallest rail franchise.

The Department for Transport announced in September 2006 that Stagecoach had been selected to operate the new 10-year South Western franchise, which combines South West Trains and Island Line and runs from February 2007.

Stagecoach Group is shortlisted for the East Midlands rail franchise, which runs from November 2007.

Stagecoach operates the Supertram network in Sheffield on a 27-year concession running until 2024.

Stagecoach Group has been shortlisted to submit a final bid to operate the current Manchester Metrolink tram network. Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Executive (GMPTE) has invited Stagecoach to submit a Best and Final Offer to run the existing system and carry out tram maintenance. Stagecoach has also been asked to submit its proposals for a combined operating, systems and infrastructure maintenance contract. The 10-year contracts would run from 1 April 2007.

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