Concerns over Thameslink delivery

A public spending watchdog (National Audit Office) has warned that repeated hold ups to one billion pound contract to replace Thameslink rolling stock could cast doubt on the Government's ability to deliver the project by 2018.

Margaret Hodge, who chairs the Commons Public Accounts Committee, raised fears that the Department for Transport (DfT), was "doomed to repeat history".

Derby-based trainmaker Bombardier Credit: PA

She said: "I am concerned at this stage in the project, given the lengthy delays, that the department has left itself with little contingency should anything go wrong. It needs to plan ahead and make sure it avoids another West Coast Main Line-style fiasco."

In 2011 the Government awarded the controversial contract to German firm Siemens instead of Derby-based trainmaker Bombardier, which was forced to shed 1,400 jobs and put the long-term future of the historic works in jeopardy.

But the contract has still not been signed, despite the Government saying it was a matter of urgency and repeatedly claiming it was about to be completed.