• Virgin and Stagecoach Banned from Franchise Bidding?

  • Discussion about railroad topics everywhere outside of North America.
Discussion about railroad topics everywhere outside of North America.

Moderators: Komachi, David Benton

  by Jeff Smith
https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/ban- ... -0xthztbhj

Going to move this over to Worldwide, but wanted a shadow topic here in Virgin. Article behind a paywall, but these are the first paragraphs from the intro.
Chris Grayling, the transport secretary, appears to have washed his hands of responsibility for the banning of Stagecoach and Virgin from the railways amid an escalating row over pensions.

The Department for Transport (DfT) is the subject of a judicial review brought by Stagecoach, which has been Britain’s biggest train operator, after its bids for future franchises were deemed “non-compliant” with tendering rules.

Stagecoach fell into dispute with the department over what it has called unquantifiable, open-ended pension liabilities that bidders were being asked to sign up to at a time when the rail industry pension scheme is £7 billion in deficit, with no plan as yet in place to plug the financial black hole.

The DfT’s “non-compliant” ruling effectively bars Stagecoach as well as…

  by David Benton
https://www.railnews.co.uk/news/2019/07 ... arket.html

"Virgin’s bid for the next West Coast franchise, in partnership with Stagecoach and SNCF, was disqualified in April because it attempted to reduce the risks associated with funding pensions"

"The DfT, responding to Sir Richard’s remarks, said: ‘We are sorry to see Virgin leave the UK rail industry having failed to put forward a compliant bid. Other companies have done so and the remaining bidders in current competitions clearly see an ability to be entrepreneurial on the railways. The recent winning bid on the East Midlands franchise accepted the pensions terms "

I guess we need a superannuation expert to figure out what this all means. But if everyone has to bid based on the same terms , then it seems fair to me.