A PARLIAMENTARY select committee chairman has asked the government to delay signing off the deal which will see Sir Richard Branson’s train com- pany lose its West Coast Main Line rail franchise.
Sir Richard dubbed the franchise system “insane” after the Department for Transport (DfT) last week announced that Virgin Trains has lost out to transport company FirstGroup in the battle to operate a 13-year West Coast franchise from December 2012.
The final contract papers for the deal are expected to be signed by transport secretary Justine Greening next Tuesday.
Yesterday, Louise Ellman, the chairman of the House of Commons transport committee, wrote to Ms Greening asking her to hold off signing the final contract.
In the letter, Mrs Ellman said the West Coast ruling raised “important issues about the basis on which decisions on major rail franchises are made”.