Virgin Trains "welcome frank announcement"
- By Jack Preston -
- Oct 03, 2012
The decision to award the West Coast Main Line franchise to FirstGroup had come under significant public scrutiny, with many parties pointing to major flaws in the bidding process which enabled the decision to be made.
“We welcome today's frank announcement by the Secretary of State, acknowledging the flaws in the way the InterCity West Coast competition was assessed and launching a review into franchising more widely,” commented a Virgin Rail Group spokesperson.
"We are ready to play a full part in assisting the review to help deliver a franchising system that better serves passengers, taxpayers and the interests of all bidders. In the meantime, we will assist the Department for Transport in ensuring continuity of service for the millions of customers who depend on train services on the West Coast mainline."
Richard Branson has also revealed on his blog that he last night took a phone call from the Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin, who explained the mistakes that had been made by staff within the Department for Transport had been “deeply regrettable”.
“From the moment we found out that FirstGroup had been made the preferred bidder with a completely unrealistic bid, we questioned the way the offers had been assessed, and asked Government to review and explain how it came to its decision,” explained the Virgin Group Founder.
“I would like to thank our staff for their incredible work through unsettling times and to all our passengers who have been so supportive. I would particularly like to thank those who signed Ross McKillop's e-petition that resulted in the House of Commons debate, and all those who believed that we were right in thinking there was a case to answer.”