Virgin Trains has paid the Government £110 million, a stark contrast to last year’s figure when the train operator received a subsidy of £40 million.
This is thought to be a record payment from a long-distance rail operator.
This drastic change follows years of disruption on the West Coast Main Line, as part of the route’s £9 billion upgrade, which resulted in the cancellation of many services and Virgin’s success on taking market share from the airlines.
Virgin said that most of the £1.4 billion it has received in subsidies so far has been paid to Network Rail in the form of track access charges.
It is thought that the latest news will not only encourage the Government’s desire to move towards a ‘user pays’ system but also increase the heat in the bidding war for the WCML franchise between First Group, SNCF, Abellio and incumbent Virgin.
The franchise is expected to be let in January 2013.
Virgin saw its passenger revenue rise 11% to £753 million in the year to March 31st.