- 31 updates
- What has gone wrong? It seems it was not just a matter of the difference between Virgin's bid and that of FirstGroup but that all the bids from all four competing companies were not properly evaluated by officials.
- What happens now? There are two reviews to look into what happened and, until they report, the bidding process for three other rail franchises has been put on hold.
- What about FirstGroup, Virgin and the two other unlucky bidders? They are getting their bid costs back from the DfT. As usual the real losers here will be taxpayers.
Labour leader Ed Miliband told BBC Radio 5 Live that the West Coast Main Line decision is a "fiasco" which brought the Government's competence into question.
FirstGroup's shares were 15% down in early trading.
- 1997: Virgin Rail begins running the West Coast Main Line after being awarded a 15-year contract.
- 2011: The Department for Transport (DfT) invites bids from companies interested in taking over the rail franchise from Virgin in December 2012.
- Aug 15 2012: The DfT awards the franchise to FirstGroup. More than 150,000 people sign an online petition calling for the decision to be reconsidered.
- Aug 27 2012: Labour and Sir Richard Branson urge the Government to delay signing the contract. The DfT says there is "no reason" to delay.
- Aug 28 2012: Virgin starts High Court proceedings demanding a judicial review. The DfT stated it was confident the competition process was robust. Singing of the contract is delayed due to the legal proceedings.
- Oct 3 2012: The DfT announce the deal with FirstGroup has been scrapped.
Latest ITV News reports
The mess that is emerging over the bidding process for the West Coast Main Line will be costly and raise the question of re-nationalisation.
The decision to award FirstGroup the West Coast Main Line rail franchise has been cancelled, the Department for Transport said.