First Trenitalia have won the bid to run train services from London Euston to Glasgow – replacing Virgin Trains from December 8.
That also includes running the new HS2 trains from 2026, on the West Coast line.
The Department for Transport said the contract is a “significant move away from the previous flawed franchising system”.
A spokesman for Virgin Trains, which has ran trains on the West Coast route since 1997, said: “Virgin Trains has led the industry for 22 years, delivering faster journeys to more destinations, harnessing new technology and always putting the customer first.
“We’ll now work with First Trenitalia to ensure a seamless handover for customers, who should still book and travel as normal.”
Matthew Gregory, chief executive of FirstGroup, which owns 70% of the joint venture, said: “The differences between this contract and more traditional rail franchises were reflected in the terms set out by the DfT, which has resulted in a more appropriate balance of risks and rewards for us as operators.
“The West Coast Partnership’s first phase allows us to earn returns on the significant investments in services and facilities for passengers but protected by a much improved revenue risk-sharing mechanism.
“This will transition to a management contract in the second phase, ensuring we can really focus on using the respective skills and experience within our joint venture to deliver the desired benefits of the HS2 project for passengers and the country.”
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Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the award of the contract is supported by Keith Williams, who is leading a Government-commissioned review into the railway.
“This award is positive news for passengers, with more services, more direct connections and ambitious plans for a cleaner, greener railway, and also represents a decisive shift towards a new model for rail,” he said.
“It is a partnership supported by Keith Williams, built with the flexibility to respond to his recommendations and deliver fundamental reform to a flawed system.
“Meeting Keith last week confirmed our shared determination to deliver a future that puts passengers at the heart of the railways, and get our trains to run on time.
“That is why I have asked Keith to produce his recommendations for a White Paper, with fearless proposals that will deliver a railway system fit for the 21st century.”