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Virgin welcomes West Coast competition decision

"We welcome today's frank announcement by the Secretary of State, acknowledging the flaws in the way the InterCity West Coast competition was assessed and launching a review into franchising more widely.

"We are ready to play a full part in assisting the review to help deliver a franchising system that better serves passengers, taxpayers and the interests of all bidders.

In the meantime, we will assist the Department for Transport in ensuring continuity of service for the millions of customers who depend on train services on the West Coast mainline."

– Statement from Virgin

FirstGroup disappointed over Department for Transport's decision

"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."

– Statement from FirstGroup

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Scottish Government not informed about latest West Coast decision

Scottish Transport Minister Keith Brown Credit: Danny Lawson/PA Wire

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".

Transport Secretary admits mistakes were made in West Coast decision

"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."

– Patrick McLoughlin, Transport Secretary

Tim Farron on West Coast Main Line decision

West Coast Main Line Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

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.

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West Coast Main Line competition cancelled

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

West Coast Mainline deal on hold

Virgin train on West Coast Mainline Credit: PA

Legal action by Virgin Rail has stopped the Government signing a contract awarding the West Coast Mainline franchise, which runs through Cumbria and Dumfries and Galloway, to a rival bidder.

MPs were told by the Rail Minister, the Government would "robustly" defend the case following the decision to award the contract to FirstGroup.

Theresa Villiers told MPs in a written statement "As a result of a legal challenge, which the Government intends to defend robustly, we have not yet signed the contract with First West Coast, and consequently the competition remains live"

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