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Media Monitor: Issue 361 10 May 2009

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Frachising, First, National Express, All of UK

Shortfall fears if First ditches franchise

Fears grow for future of rail expansion

The government's railway budget is threatening to unravel amid crisis talks over franchises and the revelation that First Great Western can walk away from a 10-year deal without footing the entire £1.1bn bill.

The franchise system, where train operators pay the government to run services on certain routes, is under mounting financial pressure after National Express confirmed it was holding urgent talks about its £1.4bn contract...

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