The DfT is said to have gone ahead with the FirstGroup decision despite the above and guidelines not followed even though it knew legal action could follow.
Virgin is now expected to run the line for the next 14 months while bids are looked at for a two-year contract. A statement from the operator said thorough scrutiny should be placed on the DfT in the final report and “lessons must be learnt”.
“Looking to the future and the current Brown review, the priority must be to get the rail franchising system back on track as quickly as possible on a sustainable basis. We need a franchising process that guarantees a level playing field, and a system built around quality and value for money,” the statement also read.