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The Department has awarded the West Coast Partnership franchise to First Trenitalia. As well as operating existing conventional services, they are also acting as the Shadow Operator for HS2 services. In this role they will provide advice to the Department regarding the optimum train service that should operate on the West Coast Main Line once HS2 opens, to best serve towns and cities on the route, based on their knowledge and analysis of passenger demand. A final decision on train services will not be made until the appropriate timetable development process begins.