Sir Richard Branson fights for the West Coast mainline

Posted: 29/08/2012

Virgin has launched a legal challenge aimed to stop FirstGroup from taking over the West Coast mainline route. Sir Richard Branson is seeking a judicial review of the decision to award the 13 year franchise to FirstGroup who bid £2 billion more than Virgin.

The legal challenge couldn’t have come at a worst time for the Transport Secretary Justine Greening who was due to sign the deal with FirstGroup just a few hours after the legal challenge was aired. Sir Richard Branson has stated that the bidding process for the franchise is ‘insane’ and claims that his rival FirstGroup may not live up to their bid and will almost certainly result in higher fairs or bankruptcy.

The Virgin boss appealed to the Prime Minister David Cameron to call the contract to be examined by MPs however, Justine Greening is adamant that the process is fair. Virgin are hoping that their legal challenge will delay the signing of the contact which they have held since 1997 and then the contact will have to be reviewed, debated and decided in Parliament at a later date.

A Downing Street e-petition was set up ten days ago and has been signed by more then 150,000 people who debate the Government's decision to award FirstGroup with the West Coast main line franchise. Sir Richard Brandson has made an offer to run the West Coast mainline for free allowing time for the Parliament to scrutinise the decision made by the Department for Transport.

Many experts are criticising Virgin’s decision to take legal action and see it as far fetched that the decision will be overhauled but Sir Branson stated, ‘We have not taken this decision lightly, but it is the only course now available to try to unravel this sorry process.'

What do you think about Sir Richard Branson’s decision to take legal action against the Department for Transport? Could it be a publicity stunt but if it is, it’s a very expensive publicity stunt therefore, the West Coast mainline obviously means a lot to Virgin and is worth fighting for.

Amanda McGovern, Pali Ltd

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(0) Comments Virgin, train, Government, Franchise

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