Taxpayers' £50m West Coast bill

Taxpayers will face a "significant" bill of around £50m over the West Coast rail franchise fiasco, the Government's spending watchdog has warned.

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DfT: We expect to sign the contract soon

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.

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.

– Department for Transport spokesman

It is unclear whether Virgin action will delay West Coast contract signing

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.

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