Perth transport giant Stagecoach has failed in its High Court action against the Government in relation to rail franchises.
Stagecoach had alleged the Department for Transport breached its statutory duties in connection with the procurement of the ongoing competition for the rail contracts.
The claim had been brought by West Coast Trains Partnership Ltd, in which Stagecoach has a 50% share, with France’s state-owned railway company SNCF holding 30% and UK train operating company Virgin holding 20%.
The pension dispute meant Stagecoach was not considered for the tendering process for the East Midlands, West Coast and South Eastern franchises.
The Stagecoach claims were thrown out today in a judgement delivered remotely by Mr Justice Stuart-Smith.
Stagecoach said it was “disappointed” by the ruling.
The firm said: “Stagecoach Group plc notes the decision of the High Court today in respect of its claims against the Secretary of State for Transport regarding decisions to disqualify the Group from three rail franchise competitions.
“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.”
The West Coast service had been operated by Virgin Trains for 22 years – Britain’s longest rail franchise – until its last journey in December. The route is now operated by Avanti West Coast.
A Department for Transport spokesperson said: “We strongly welcome this decision, which finds our franchise process was fair, our conduct was transparent, and the disqualification at the heart of this case was proportionate.
“Our focus now rightly remains on tackling the Covid-19 pandemic, helping ensure the safety of passengers, and working to build a railway that works for everyone as we begin the process of recovery.”