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RMT criticises delay over West Coast contract

Virgin’s legal challenge over FirstGroup’s victorious bid to take over the West Coast Main Line franchise “could drag on for months”, according to the RMT union, which claims it is more and more likely that the state-owned Directly Operated Railways could be forced to step in to run services after December 9.

It is likely to be mid-October before the judge decided whether Virgin has a case for judicial review of the DfT decision.

The RMT says trains could have to be run with no livery over the Christmas period, since the DfT has no schedule in place for rebranding the trains before the December deadline.

General secretary Bob Crow said: “With the clock ticking down towards the 9 December cut-off point for the current franchise the only thing stopping the Government from stepping in and taking the logical and sensible option of renationalising the West Coast is their ideological opposition to public ownership. It is time they woke up and faced up to reality.

“By failing to grasp the seriousness of the situation, and taking the urgent action required to bring the West Coast back under public control, the Government appear to be prepared to risk the embarrassment of having the fleet running in grey primer over Christmas and New Year which would make us a global laughing stock.

“With the judge not even likely to decide on whether or not Virgin have a case for judicial review until mid-October, and that decision then likely to be subject to further legal challenge, this fiasco, rooted in the crazed world of rail privatisation, could drag on for months. It’s time for the Government to end the uncertainty for passengers, and the 3200 West Coast staff, and to announce renationalisation, with effect from 9th December, right now.”

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Dr.Peter Long,National Rail Industry Theologian.   28/09/2012 at 16:58

it is vital as new franchises queue up for assessment, that the current system is considered by the judge to be fit for purpose and realistic in its forecasts-it's worth the delay for everyone.

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