This extraordinary announcement highlights the weaknesses in the franchise process. It's a process that puts finance first rather than passengers, but now it seems we can't even rely on the numbers for that.
The Government's review of franchises must now be used to look at how we can get rail services that meet passengers' needs and grow and improve our railway.
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.