– Statement from FirstGroup
"We were notified late last night that the Department for Transport has apparently discovered significant technical flaws in the way its franchise process for the InterCity West Coast was conducted and has consequently cancelled the competition for this franchise.
"Until this point we had absolutely no indication that there were any issues with the franchise letting process and had received assurances from the DfT that its processes were robust and that it expected to sign the contract with FirstGroup soon. We are extremely disappointed to learn this news."
Scottish Transport Minister Keith Brown said it was "not acceptable" for the UK Government not to tell ministers north of the border it was rerunning the competition to operate the West Coast Main Line.
He added that the U-turn by the Department for Transport "leaves so much up in the air".
– Patrick McLoughlin, Transport Secretary
"I have had to cancel the competition for the running of the West Coast franchise because of deeply regrettable and completely unacceptable mistakes made by my department in the way it managed the process.
A detailed examination by my officials into what happened has revealed these flaws and means it is no longer possible to award a new franchise on the basis of the competition that was held.
Passengers can rest assured that while we seek urgently to resolve the future arrangements the trains that run now will continue to run, with the same drivers, the same staff and timetables as planned."
Cumbrian MP, Tim Farron, has spoken out over the decision to rerun the competition to operate the West Coast Main Line.
The Westmorland and Lonsdale MP said "people must be held accountable" for the errors.
FirstGroup was due to take over the franchise from Virgin in December.
The competition to run trains on the West Coast Main Line has been cancelled following the discovery of significant technical flaws in the way the franchise process was conducted, Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin has announced.
The decision means the Department for Transport (DfT) will no longer be awarding a franchise contract to run the West Coast service when the current franchise expires in December.
FirstGroup was due to take over the running of the London to Scotland line after being awarded the contract by the DfT in August, but Virgin Rail, which currently runs the service, launched a High Court challenge against the decision