Seamus Milne writes in today's Guardian that renationalisation of the railway system could be the right way to go.
– Seamus Milne, the Guardian
The solution could not be more obvious. It's to rebuild a publicly owned and integrated railway. That can be done at zero or minimal cost, by bringing back each franchise into public ownership as the contracts expire.
The Transport Secretary is seeking legal advice after a court challenge by Virgin boss Sir Richard Branson threatened to derail the awarding of the West Coast Main Line rail franchise to rivals FirstGroup.
Virgin lodged papers at the High Court in London yesterday and a hearing will be held in due course.
Legal challenges are often very time-consuming and expensive and someone like Sir Richard Branson who likes to make a lot of money and not necessarily spend a lot of money wouldn't do this lightly.
In a sense though, did we ever expect him to bow out quietly and gracefully if he lost something he'd controlled and grown since 1997.
I think it's clear from most lawyers I've spoken to, the government and sources at FirstGroup tonight feel pretty confident that his case is not that great.
But the difficulty might come when any legal challenge starts chewing up a lot of time, and money.
FirstGroup needs to get this done so they're ready to take over the franchise in December.
These things are costly, complicated and the franchise system is notoriously tangled up.
A Department for Transport spokesman has said that the new West Coast franchise contract awarded to FirstGroup will be signed soon.
Earlier, Virgin Trains announced it had started court proceedings over the Government's decision.
– Department for Transport spokesman
We are confident our process is robust and that the decision was absolutely the right one for tax payers and passengers.
We expect to sign the contract soon.
The Transport Secretary, Justine Greening, has said she is "disappointed but not surprised" by Virgin Trains' decision to take legal action over the government's decision to award a new West Coast franchise to transport company FirstGroup.
She also said the government would defend its position "robustly".
Virgin Trains' legal challenge is an application for a judicial review of the decision to award FirstGroup, the West Coast main line contract.
The firm lodged papers at the High Court in London today and a hearing will be held at the court in due course.
It is unclear if this means the final signing of the franchise contract by the Transport Secretary Justine Greening - which is expected tomorrow - will now be delayed pending the outcome of the hearing.
Virgin boss Sir Richard Branson has spoken to ITV News' Business Editor, Laura Kuenssberg, about the decision to take legal action over the government's decision to award a new West Coast franchise to FirstGroup.
Speaking from Necker Island, Sir Richard said: "It was our last resort".
Sir Richard has told me that legal action is Virgin Train's "last resort" over the West Coast franchise and he believes a judicial review will delay the process.
He said: "Judicial reviews are hard to win but we feel we have a shot".