MP to pose questions about Thameslink contract process
A DERBY MP has tabled a series of Parliamentary questions asking Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin to clarify if there are any links between the West Coast Main Line rail franchise debacle and a contract for rolling stock on which city train-maker Bombardier missed out.
Supporters of the Litchurch Lane firm believe the Government should re-examine the decision to award the £1.4 billion Thameslink deal to German firm Siemens, after errors were discovered in the Department for Transport's handling of the West Coast bidding process.
Mr McLoughlin scrapped the bidding competition for West Coast and three DfT officials were suspended.
The decision prompted Derbyshire MPs and the RMT union to ask if the same errors could have been replicated in other contract decisions, such as Thameslink.
More than 18 months ago, Siemens was named as preferred bidder for the deal, ahead of Bombardier, which went on to shed 1,000 temporary staff and fully review its UK operations.
Derby North MP Chris Williamson has now written three Parliamentary questions, which he hopes will be answered by Mr McLoughlin, who is MP for Derbyshire Dales, on Wednesday.
Mr Williamson said: "I have asked, in light of the revelations about the West Coast Main Line franchise, whether he is satisfied that the procurement process for the Thameslink rolling stock was carried out correctly and should it be reviewed.
"I also want to know whether the civil servants involved in the West Coast franchise bid process had any involvement in Thameslink."
Earlier this year, Bombardier decided to keep its Derby factory until 2014, while it bids for the £1 billion Crossrail deal.
The firm remains the reserve bidder for Thameslink.
If the DfT cannot reach a financial close on the Thameslink deal with Siemens, the Litchurch Lane firm will be offered the work.