West Coast Main Line deal scrapped

Trains can't make U-turns - but Governments can. The admission that the process which saw the West Coast rail franchise handed to FirstGroup was "a terrible mistake" has meant ridicule and stinging criticism for new Transport Secretary Patrick McGloughlin.

The West Coast Main Line, which serves Northampton and Milton Keynes has been run by Virgin Trains since 1997. The company was taking legal action after losing the franchise to FirstGroup. Virgin owner Sir Richard Branson had loudly claimed the bidding process was fatally flawed. Now it seems he was right.

The fallout from this massive mistake which will cost taxpayers millions has implications for rail companies - and rail users - right across our region. Bidding for three other routes - including Essex Thameside and Thameslink has been suspended and other franchises could be affected.

The Government is now examining whether Virgin Trains can continue running services after its franchise ends in December. Commuters will be hoping the trains services they pay for continue to be less shambolic than the bidding process.

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