15/10/2012 03:36 BST | Updated 15/10/2012 03:45 BST

Virgin Rail In Talks To Continue Running The West Coast Mainline, Department For Transport Say

Virgin Rail is in talks with the government about continuing running the West Coast Main Line for up to nine months, the Department for Transport said on Monday.

The Department for Transport said they intended to negotiate with Virgin Rail to continue to provide services.

The temporary fix has been proposed after an embarrassing U-turn over the award of a new franchise earlier this month.

Virgin's current franchise is due to end on December 9 but talks are under way about it remaining as operator for between nine and 13 months while a competition is run for an interim franchise agreement.

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: “The cancellation of the InterCity West Coast franchise is deeply regrettable and I apologise to the bidders involved and the taxpayer who have a right to expect better.

“My priority now is to fix the problem and the first step is to take urgent action to ensure that on the 9 December services continue to run to the same standard and passengers are not affected.

“I believe Virgin remaining as operator for a short period of time is the best way to do this and my officials and I will be working flat out to make this happen.”