Categorized | Retail and Consumer

Virgin : West Coast mainline

Posted on 16 October 2012 by editor

Virgin Trains are said to be inline to continue running the West Coast mainline for at least another nine months.

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said the government will hold talks with Virgin for a temporary contract, until a new franchise deal has been agreed. The winners of the original franchise deal. FirstGroup were the original winners, but this was recently withdrawn after a review highlighted that there were “technical flaws” in the bid process, which made the franchise void.

A review of the why this franchise deal went wrong is due to be published later this month.  Remarkably, 3 senior civil servants have been suspended and the government faces a bill of £40m to compensate franchise bidders.

EU procurement rules mean everyone must get a decent go at bidding for new business.

Another review is also currently being undertaken  to determine whether franchising really works. This is not due until Christmas. If it the reports includes large scale recommendations, then this is only likely to cause further delays to the tender process.

It is clear that the Government is having to buy some time until they sort everything out.

The franchise was withdrawn in early October and led to the suspension of other franchise programmes including bids for Essex Thameside, Great Western and Thameslink.

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