InterCity West Coast - InterCity West Coast Cancellation - C

InterCity West Coast - C
InterCity West Coast Cancellation
On 3 October 2012, the government announced it was cancelling the franchise competition after discovering significant technical flaws in the bidding process, thus cancelling the decision to award it to FirstGroup. It was stated that civil servants had made significant mistakes in the way in which the risks for each bid had been calculated, leading to too little default surety being required of bidders.
Two independent inquiries were announced; one to investigate the failed competition, led by Sam Laidlaw of Centrica, with Ed Smith, both on the Board of the DfT; and the second led by Richard Brown of Eurostar, to investigate the wider franchise system. Three civil servants were suspended.
During September 2012 the newly appointed Secretary of State for Transport, Patrick McLoughlin, had been warned of potential issues. On 2 October, he decided to cancel the franchise award. The DfT had been due in the High Court on 3 October 2012 to respond to a judicial review sought by Virgin Rail Group.
On 5 October 2012, one of the three suspended civil servants, Kate Mingay, released a statement to correct the reporting of her role in the franchising process. She began legal proceedings against the DfT over her suspension, with a High Court hearing on 29 November 2012 rejecting her claim to have her suspension lifted. It was announced on 6 December 2012 that all three of the suspended civil servants, including Mingay, would return to work.
The government decided it would reimburse the four bidders for all costs incurred. This amounted to £39.7 million with a further £4.9 million paid to FirstGroup as reimbursement for mobilisation costs incurred.
The Laidlaw report was published in December 2012, and found the DfT to be primarily responsible for the failure of the West Coast competition, having made several errors in its financial modelling. The Brown report, published in January 2013, found no fundamental flaws in the bidding process but made recommendations for improvements.
InterCity West Coast Direct Awards
In October 2012, the DfT announced that Virgin Trains would continue to operate the franchise for between 9 and 13 months until a short-term interim franchise competition for the West Coast could be rerun. In December 2012, Virgin was awarded a 23-month management contract until November 2014.
In March 2013 the Secretary of State for Transport announced negotiations with Virgin to extend the franchise until 31 March 2017, these were concluded in June 2014. In 2016 the franchise was again extended and in 2018 there was a further extension to March 2019, with an option for up to an additional year. This option was taken up by the DfT in December 2018, thereby extending the contract for a period potentially up to March 2020.
West Coast Partnership
In November 2016, the government announced that the InterCity West Coast franchise would be replaced by the West Coast Partnership. Avanti West Coast commenced operating the franchise on 9 December 2019.
InterCity West Coast
InterCity West Coast Current Operator: Avanti West Coast
InterCity West Coast Main Route(s): West Coast Main Line
InterCity West Coast Stations Called At: 44
InterCity West Coast Stations Operated: 17
InterCity West Coast Dates of Operation: 9 March 1997 - 7 December 2019
InterCity West Coast Track Gauge: 1,435 mm (4 ft 8+1⁄2 in)
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