The Government has announced that it will cancel the competition for the franchise to run the West Coast Mainline. The decision comes after the discovery of significant flaws in the way Government officials conducted the competition to run the service.
Barbara had recently raised concerns with the Transport Minister about the way the franchise process was being carried out. She warned that earlier competitions that had produced unrealistic bids for rail franchises, had turned out to be undeliverable. She also told the Minister that there would be “more chaos down the road” if a similar thing happened with the West Coast Mainline.
“I and other Labour MPs and our Shadow Transport Secretary warned the Rail Minister that the figures for the number of passengers to be carried and the premium payments to be made looked unrealistic. Now the Minister has admitted that mistakes were made in the way that inflation and passenger numbers were taken into account, and how much money bidders were then asked to guarantee. This flaw in the franchise process has caused the Government to cancel the competition.
“This Government fiasco could cost the taxpayer £40 million and rail passengers from Salford and across the North West now face real uncertainty about their travel on the West Coast Mainline. I and my Labour colleagues raised our concerns about the process and we will continue to hold the Government to account over this issue. I hope that commons sense now prevails and the Government will allow Virgin Trains to continue running the service.”