FirstGroup, which had originally won the bidding for the West Coast Main Line before the Government's U-turn, has issued a statement after Virgin was offered an extension as the line's operator while the bidding is re-run.
The company makes no reference to Virgin, instead focusing on the future bidding for the line and, in particular, the findings of two independent reviews set up by the Department of Transport after the first West Coast franchise competition was halted.
We believe the private sector provides the most effective and efficient way to deliver passenger rail services in the UK. We await the outcome of the independent investigations into the West Coast franchise competition and the wider rail franchising process, which we hope will provide a greater degree of certainty and confidence not only to future bidders but to employees, stakeholders and the travelling public too.
Rail operator Virgin has been asked to continue running the West Coast mainline for another few months after a Government U-turn.
One railway line, one fudged bid, three more sets of negotations and three years to put it right.
Sir Richard Branson's rail operator has been asked to continue running the troubled West Coast Main Line, while a bidding process is re-run.