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DfT rail deal official hits back

A senior Department of Transport official suspended over the mishandling of the West Coast Main Line rail franchise contract as hit out at her own department for "inaccurately portraying" her role and overstating her responsibility.

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Timeline of West Coast rail franchise saga

  • 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.

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