- 26 updates
- A judge will shortly decide if Virgin’s case is strong enough to go to judicial review although sources close to the process said this may now take longer than expected.
- Virgin had expected a decision within two weeks of launching the action on August 28.
- Sir Richard Branson will highlight a number of past franchising failures as part of a concerted effort to have the West Coast deal delayed, reports The Telegraph.
- Branson is expected to question why the DfT didn’t assess the two bids side by side to compare growth forecasts and other assumptions.
- Unless two bids are close together in value, the preferred offer is compared against an academic model drawn up by the DfT.
- FirstGroup, which outbid Virgin by more than £1bn to run the West Coast Main Line, maintains that its offer can be delivered and is a better deal for taxpayers.
- However, the West Coast contract remains in doubt after Sir Richard launched legal action against the DfT on the day FirstGroup was due to sign the paperwork for the franchise.
Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Trains has launched a legal challenge to the Government’s decision to award West Coast main line rail franchise to FirstGroup.
The entrepreneur will use a hearing before MPs to criticise a system that has seen firms fail to run their routes at a profit, leaving taxpayers’ to foot the bill.
Branson’s legal challenge to the 14-year contract means First Group may not get the keys to the line as scheduled on 9 December.
The Government last week admitted the profitable West Coast Main Line contract has yet to be signed, thanks to the legal bid by Virgin.
Ministers had to admit to MPs that they have not yet been able to sign the contract with First Group for the lucrative West Coast Main Line.
- In August, the Government announced that Virgin had lost out to transport company FirstGroup in the bidding war to run a new 13-year West Coast franchise.
- Transport company FirstGroup, which already has a number of rail franchises including Great Western and ScotRail, will start operating the London to Scotland West Coast line in December.
- Virgin boss Sir Richard Branson reacted angrily to the decision, branding the bidding process "insane" and threatening to end all involvement with the railways.
- Virgin, which has operated the West Coast line since 1997, have launched a legal challenge over the Government decision.
Sir Richard Branson and FirstGroup chief Tim O'Toole will give evidence to House of Commons Transport Committee today over Government's decision to award West Coast main line rail franchise to FirstGroup.
Latest ITV News reports
Rail operator Virgin has been asked to continue running the West Coast mainline for another few months after a Government U-turn.
One railway line, one fudged bid, three more sets of negotations and three years to put it right.