27/08/2012 Midlands Today


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Good afternoon. A Midlands Lord and former Labour Transport spokesman


is warning Virgin Trains a review of the West Coast Mainline contract


wouldn't make any difference. FirstGroup is to take over the


running of the line, which joins the Midlands with London and


Scotland. As our Political Editor explains, MPs will decide if they


should intervene when Parliament returns next week.


The Virgin logo is due start disappearing in just over three


months' time. The Transport Department decided Britain's


biggest train operator, FirstGroup, should take over the line linking


the Midlands with London, the North West and Scotland after they outbid


Sir Richard Branson's Virgin group. One former railwayman turned


politician believes whatever MPs may say in any Commons debate, the


new franchise agreement is as good as being a done deal. It would


enable the whole business to be discussed properly Richard has not


been so far. We doubt whether the Government would at this stage


could or would change their minds. There is talk about a judicial


review of but there would presumably be another one if the


government decision was reversed. Rugby in Warwickshire has seen its


services to London much-improved during the 15 years Virgin have


been operating them. Before the franchise deal, the town's MP urged


the Transport Secretary to think long and hard before awarding it to


anyone else. The service from the station is very important to my


constituents. They commute to London on a regular basis and many


businesses have located here. Making certain we maintain a


regular, reliable service is very important here. FirstGroup plan to


grow the passenger numbers on the West Coast line by 10% a year for


each of the next ten years. Virgin considered that unrealistic. Their


success or failure will go a long way towards proving, or disproving,


the business case for a new system of high speed rail services linking


the same major cities. And you can read more about what


FirstGroup is promising for the West Coast Mail Line on Patrick's


blog. Coventry City are searching for


their 11th manager in 12 years following the sacking of Andy Thorn.


The Sky Blues' chief executive says the team, now playing in League One


are underachieving. Thorn's dismissal came just 48 hours before


their League Cup match against Birmingham City.


Just 10,000 supporters were at the Ricoh Arena on Saturday, to see the


Sky Blues throw away a two goal lead, to draw at home to Bury. But


a united front from the players wasn't enough to save Andy Thorn's


job. The fact that we get three draws in three games... And in the


second half, the way they gave away the position at the half time when


we could have been 6-0 up was not acceptable. Thorn's tenure saw just


13 wins from 60 games with relegation to the third tier of


english football. To seasoned observers, it was the beginning of


the end. A lot of fans we have spoken to said that if they were


going to sack the manager, it should have been done last season,


at the end of last season. He's had time to strengthen the squad but it


has not -- he has not had a length of time to prove how good the squad


might be, only three games. Thorn's sacking has been broadly welcomed.


It was the right decision. A they are not playing very well at all.


They have the odd game but it is not worth watching. I am a fanatic


and all the way through, I thought he was the best manager. The club's


widely-documented financial woes include the owners taken to court


over unpaid rent, large player wage bills and concerns over falling


revenues. Today, the club insisted it's financial fortunes are being


turned around. Two of the coaches will take charge of the team for


tomorrow's League Cup catch -- match against Birmingham here. The


hunt for the new manager starts now. Along with it, the search for


stability. A soldier from Shropshire who lost


both his legs in action in Afghanistan will be among eight


servicemen representing Team GB in the Paralympics. The games get


underway on Wednesday. For 30-year-old Nick Beighton from


Shrewsbury this will be his first Paralympics. He only got into a


boat two years ago. He took up rowing after losing both his legs


when he was injured in an explosion whilst serving with the army in


Afghanistan. It has been such an emotional three years, from first


to be serving in Afghanistan, to being in hospital, to crawling back


to full health and recovery. This is their reward for that. Before


his injuries the serving captain with the Royal Engineers had skied,


rock-climbed and run all over the world and was adamant his injuries


wouldn't stop his passion for sport. I set out early on with a


determination and attitude that this was not going to change our


approach life. And he's not the only member of the forces to have


qualified for the games. First sportsman will be among eight


British servicemen taking part and it is all francs to charities like


this one. -- all thanks. Troop Aid in Solihull raises money to help


soldiers like Nick injured in Afghanistan. It hopes the


Paralympics will inspire others like him. It is hugely inspiring to


all of those sports people who are dealing with their injuries at the


moment. They will be looking at the Paralympics and thinking that is


maybe something I can do. It is hoped that will be the lasting


legacy of the gains. Not the most memorable of bank


Brighter tomorrow but I cannot do much better than that. We end the


weekend with yet more rain this evening but gradually, as the head


through the night, that rain will ease to leave us with a brighter


day tomorrow. This evening, the rain will peter out and push away


to the east. The skies begin to clear. One or two showers in


western parts by the end of the night. Temperatures at 12-15


Celsius. Tomorrow looks like a brighter day. It should be mostly


dry with good spells of sunshine. A small chance of catching a shower


but the majority will remain drive. Warmer as well with those


temperatures rising to 20 or 21 Celsius. The better weather doesn't


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