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Ribble Valley MP supports government U-turn on trains


The MP for Ribble Valley, Nigel Evans, has welcomed the Government’s decision to restart the bidding process for the West Coast Main Line rail franchise.

This follows the objections raised by Richard Branson of the Virgin Group who were due to lose the franchise to First Group in December. This includes the main links for the area from Preston to London.

This morning the Secretary of State for Transport, the Rt Hon Patrick McLoughlin MP, said there were “significant technical flaws” in the bidding process because of mistakes by Department for Transport staff. Three civil servants have been suspended and the bidding will reopen.

Mr Evans said: “I welcome this decision because as soon as the Secretary of State became aware of the mistakes that had been made, the process was stopped, two reviews were ordered and the bidding process will be re-run.

“This is absolutely the right thing to do because when the facts change then the decisions based on those facts must also change. In the meantime it is vitally important that passengers continue to receive a high level of service and that that service is not allowed to deteriorate.

“Lessons need to be learned and the competition for the franchise must be rigorous. Eventually it must be awarded to the bid which can provide a first class service that is reliable and regular – that is what matters most to my constituents that use this line.”

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