Rail firm responsible for Swindon trains loses bid for franchise in U-turn (From Swindon Advertiser)
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Rail firm responsible for Swindon trains loses bid for franchise in U-turn
10:52am Thursday 4th October 2012 in News
THE rail operator responsible for Swindon’s Trains has had its plans to run the West Coast Mainline derailed after technical flaws.
The u-turn, which was due to significant technical flaws in the handling of the bid process, came just a day after First Group said that it hoped to start services on the London to Scotland rail line from December 9.
The transport secretary said there were “significant technical flaws” in the bidding process because of mistakes by Department for Transport staff, with three civil servants being suspended.
First Group had beaten current operator Virgin Trains to win the 13-year franchise and have been left ‘extremely disappointed’ by the news.
First Group said: “The DfT have made it clear to us that we are in no way at fault, having followed the due process correctly.
“We submitted a strong bid, in good faith and in strict accordance with the DfT's terms. Our bid would have delivered a better deal for West Coast passengers, the taxpayer and an appropriate return for shareholders.”