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"