Scotland's Transport Minister will outline his concerns at Holyrood
Russell Brown MP, has described the admission of flaws in the West Coast Mainline bidding process as "an utter shambles".
The competition to operate the West Coast Main Line has been cancelled after flaws were discovered in the bidding process.
Eastbound partially blocked due to broken down lorry between B724 and Main Road. Police directing traffic.
Unions, politicians and many rail passengers are calling on the Government to delay the signing of a new franchise for the West Coast main line. Virgin Trains is due to lose the service after FirstGroup made a bid that was more than a billion pounds higher.
Thousands of people have signed a petition opposing the move, but FirstGroup insists its service will provide the best deal for taxpayers and passengers.
RMT leaders have said that First Group have based their bid on the same kind of over-geared financial projections that lead to the collapse of the GNER and National Express contracts on the East Coast – forcing the Government to renationalise the service.
Speaking to ITV Border, RMT Leader, Craig Johnston said he believes the contract will be signed in the coming days without a delay. He said members of the RMT union have expressed concern at the decision.
First Group have responded to calls for a delay to the signing of contracts on the West Coast Main Line rail franchise after more than 100,000 people signed a petition for the decision to be reviewed in Parliament.
First Group Statement:
"We are pleased that the DfT has reiterated that our winning bid was selected by a fair, rigorous process that scrutinised best value and deliverability and that they concluded that no reason has been advanced to convince the DfT not to sign the agreement.
Our bid is deliverable and it provides the best deal for taxpayers, for passengers and for staff on the West Coast Mainline. We will be introducing major service improvements, new trains and cutting standard anytime fares by 15% and by 2016 there will be 40,000 more seats.
We will also provide the taxpayer with a fair and appropriate return for the £9bn of their money that has been spent modernising the line. We are one of the country’s most experienced rail operators and have a good track record.
We won the bid fair and square and we are pleased that the Department for Transport sees no reason to revisit the process."
Statement by Tim O'Toole, Chief Executive of FirstGroup.
Unions, politicians and many rail passengers are calling on the Government to delay the signing of a new franchise for the West Coast Main Line.
Virgin Trains is due to lose the service, which passes through South West Scotland and Cumbria, after First Group made a higher bid.
Labour wants the issue debated in Parliament. 140,000 people have signed a petition opposing the move.
First Group says its bid is deliverable and provides the best deal for taxpayers. It says it was selected in a fair, rigorous process that scrutinised best value and deliverability. It adds that it will be introducing major service improvements, new trains and will cut standard fares.
Shadow Secretary of State for Transport, Maria Eagle MP says the decision should be discussed in Parliament.
A Cumbrian MP has called for Virgin Trains loss of the West Coast Main Line to be debated in Parliament, after a petition urging the Government reconsider the decision gained over 100,000 signatures.
Virgin Trains was recently stripped of the contract to run trains on the west coast main line, one it's held since 1997. The Government awarded the franchise to FirstGroup. Unions fear the move means job cuts but FirstGroup have said they'll bring key improvements and investments to the line.
"Our business plan calls for jobs to remain largely flat. All these statements that we're going to cut all the catering jobs couldn't be further from the truth. In fact we're going to expand catering. We're going to do more catering because it's all about attracting people on to the railway. So no, we aren't cutting jobs."
A petition was set up and it now has over 100,000 signatures on it. This could potentially trigger a debate on the issue in the House of Commons if the petition gains support from MPs and is picked by the Backbench Business Committee.
“I think we must listen to the public and debate this issue in Parliament. Over 100,000 people have signed the petition – we must allow the case to be put and hear the Government's reply.
"On my annual surgery summer tour it has been the top concern my constituents have wanted to talk about. If we don’t discuss this it will just make people even more cynical about Westminster politics.”
Police are appealing for witnesses to a road crash which occurred about 1230 hours Wednesday 22 August on the A75 road just east of Dumfries near the Shell Service Station.
Two vehicles were involved in the collision, a VW Passat car and a Transit van and two people were taken to the Dumfries and Galloway Royal Infirmary with minor injuries.
The roadway was blocked for a time as a result of the collision. Police are currently investigating reports of an altercation which took place after the collision and a number of people are being interviewed regarding this.
Police report that the A75 road in Dumfries and Galloway is currently blocked just east of the Shell Service Station near Collin because of a road crash. Police and emergency services are dealing with the crash and motorists are asked to avoid the area if possible. Diversions are being arranged.