Stagecoach loses High Court battle against Department for Transport

Transport group Stagecoach has lost its High Court battle against the Department for Transport in connection with its failed bid for three rail franchises, including the West Coast Main Line.

Stagecoach announced in May 2019 it was to take legal action in partnership with SNCF and Virgin, claiming that the DFT breached its statutory duties under EU and English law.

The claim was brought by West Coast Trains Partnership, in which Stagecoach had a 50% share, with SNCF holding 30% and Virgin 20%.

It followed the decision in April 2019 by the DTI to disqualify Stagecoach and its partners from the East Midlands, West Coast Partnership and South Eastern franchise bidding process.

Rail operator Avanti West Coast was awarded the West Coast route, which connects Liverpool and Manchester with London and Glasgow.

Following the court’s ruling today, Stagecoach said in a statement: “We believe there were important issues which needed to be determined by the court to help secure the future of the country’s rail system and our view remains that we were right not to accept the risks in these contracts.

“Nevertheless, while we are disappointed at today’s ruling, we accept the decision and move on.

“The country is facing a huge challenge in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, and all of our energies are focused on ensuring our transport networks help the national effort at this critical time.”

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