by Jason Moore

I have always liked and admired Sir Richard Branson. It was a sad day when he was forced to abort plans in Majorca to build a luxury hotel at the estate he owned in Banyalbufar. The local authorities failed to see the benefits of this project. They were just being silly and Branson pulled out completely of Majorca selling the other hotel he owned on the island. Now, his record speaks for itself. He is a self-made billionaire but he could be accused of being slightly silly himself over the fuss he is making over the West Coast Mainline train link. Branson´s Virgin group lost out because their bid was lower than First Group. That is the simple truth. Now Branson has launched legal proceedings and he does have his supporters (200'000 people have signed a petition supporting Virgin Trains). But as one Conservative MP said it does sound like a case of sour grapes. The British government obviously wants the highest bid because it is more money for the Exchequer. First Group already operates a number of rail services in Britain, quite successfully, so there is no reason why they can´t do the same with the West Coast Mainline. Obviously it is a commercial blow for the Virgin Group, I sincerely doubt that their legal challenge will prosper. There was talk of the British government nationalising the train link but I think it would be better if First Group were allowed the chance to operate the West Coast Mainline. If it fails then the government can think again.

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