Virgin Trains to take legal action over franchise decision

Virgin Trains says it has launched court proceedings over the UK Government's decision to award a new West Coast franchise to transport company FirstGroup.

Virgin has operated the line since 1997, but FirstGroup will take over the 13-year contract from December.

Speaking from Necker Island, Sir Richard Branson said the decision to take legal action was a 'last resort'.

FirstGroup says it has 'every confidence' in the Department for Transport's process, which it describes as 'rigorous, detailed and fair' and in which bids are 'thoroughly tested'.

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West Coast mainline row

The Labour Party is calling on the Government not to sign off the new contract for the West Coast mainline franchise, which includes the route from Holyhead to Euston, until MPs have been able to scrutinise it in detail.