West Coast Mainline

The Transport Select Committee will call the Secretary of State for Transport, Patrick McLoughlin MP, and the Permanent Secretary at the Department for Transport, Philip Rutnam, to give oral evidence on the cancellation of the competition to run the West Coast Main Line franchise on Wednesday 31 October  at 2pm.

It is astonishing that the Government has had to cancel the West Coast Main Line franchise competition and delay other competitions.

Just last month the Secretary of State told the Transport Select Committee that he was content with how the Department for Transport had handled the West Coast Main Line competition and that Virgin’s challenge to the outcome would be defended robustly.

I expect the Department’s review of what went wrong to be available by the end of this month and we will want to examine that very carefully. We will also want to know how much this episode has cost the taxpayer, what lessons will be learnt, and what will be the wider implications for franchising.

In addition, I expect the Committee to look closely at the Government’s review of franchising when it is published at the end of this year.