Statement from Virgin Trains over West Coast mainline court bid

A statement from West Coast mainline operator Virgin Trains about its decision to take legal action over the Government's decision to award a new West Coast franchise to FirstGroup.

"Virgin Trains Limited (VTL) has today commenced Court proceedings in respect of the decision to award the West Coast Main Line franchise to FirstGroup.

We have tried for three weeks to get clarity over the Department for Transport's decision and to have a number of key questions answered. On each occasion we have been refused information.

We are left with no choice but to commence Court proceedings as we believe the procurement process has ignored the substantial risks to taxpayers and customers of delivering FirstGroup's bid over the course of the franchise."

In addition it has ignored the DfT's own assessment that VTL's bid was more deliverable and a lower risk. We question whether FirstGroup’s bid has been correctly risk adjusted by the Department given all of its supposed incremental value is delivered after 2022.

– Virgin Trains

The current process is geared to selecting the highest risk bid and needs to be independently audited to prevent a repeat of former franchise failures."

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