What cancelling the West Coast competition means

  • FirstGroup, who were due to take over the running of the West Coast Main Line in December, will no longer be awarded the franchise.
  • The Department for Transport will no longer contest the judicial review sought by Sir Richard Branson's company Virgin Rail - who currently run the service.
  • Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin has ordered two independent reviews into the competition process.
  • An announcement is expected later today about the suspension of government staff while investigations are conducted.
  • The Government has paused all other outstanding franchise competitions.
  • Officials have now been asked to examine the options for the operation of the service after December 9.

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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.