Government to scrap second rail franchise - Telegraph

LONDON Wed Jan 30, 2013 11:55pm GMT

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LONDON (Reuters) - The UK government is to scrap the bidding process for train services in the west of the country, months after axing the contract for a different rail line, the Telegraph reported on Thursday.

Bidders are to be told that the First Group, which currently runs the Great Western line from London to Bristol and Cardiff, will retain the contract, according to the newspaper.

The department declined to comment on the report when approached by Reuters.

Britain tore up a deal in October awarding one of its biggest rail franchises to a private operator, in a humiliating U-turn that cast doubt over the government handling of the railways.

Virgins Trains, which lost the contract to First, is continuing to run services between London and Manchester, while the government fixes the bidding process.

(Reporting by Costas Pitas; editing by Andrew Roche)

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