West Coast Mainline Contract Cancelled

The decision to award the West Coast Main Line franchise to FirstGroup has been cancelled due to flaws in the way the process was conducted.

Transport Minister Keith Brown said it was ``not acceptable'' for the UK Government not to tell ministers north of the border it was scrapping the deal for the main West Coast rail line. 

The Scottish Government minister said the cancellation of the competition to run trains on the West Coast Main Line after significant flaws were found in the franchise process was ``absolutely extraordinary''. 

He said the U-turn by the UK Government ``leaves so much up in the air''. 

Sir Richard Branson had mounted a legal challenge to the Department for Transport (DfT) to award a new 13-year franchise for the busy line not to Virgin Trains, but to rival transport company FirstGroup.