Commentary: what does this mean for Thameslink?

BBC news story about West Coast franchise

Rarely can one awake to such welcome news, although we have yet to see what precisely happened and how the errors were uncovered.

Some credit must go to Richard Branson for starting court action. Some must go to ministers for reviewing the work that led to the decision to award the franchise to First Group.

Clearly there are civil servants at fault – and again ministers, who must ultimately carry the can: the decision was self-evidently wrong and there should have been greater challenge by DfT ministers before making the announcement.

There are clearly significant ramifications. The franchise system is not fit for purpose. There is a West Coast line to run. And there are obvious consequences for the next round of franchise renewals, including Thameslink.

Those of us who have been campaigning for the exclusion of First Capital Connect can take some heart this morning. But we need a swift resolution because every day in which FCC continues to have the Thameslink franchise is a day of overcharging, overcrowding and contemptuous incompetence.

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