Transport giant Arriva has announced it is suing the government over the bidding process for the East Midlands franchise.
Arriva, which is backed by Germany’s Deutsche-Bahn, is questioning how the Department for Transport assessed the bids.
The move follows Stagecoach’s announcement that it would take legal action after it was banned from resubmitting its bid. Stagecoach currently operates the East Midlands network, which covers routes north and south between Yorkshire and London, and east to west between Norwich and Liverpool.
The new contract for the East Midlands network has been awarded to the Dutch firm Abellio. Abellio already runs five other franchises, including Scotrail and Greater Anglia services between London and Norwich. It will take over the East Midlands network for eight years from August 2019.
In a statement announcing the new contract, the Department for Transport said: “Abellio East Midlands will oversee the introduction of brand-new trains, entirely replacing the existing intercity fleet with more reliable and comfortable trains. Passengers will benefit from an 80% increase in the number of morning peak seats into Nottingham, Lincoln and St Pancras.
“Passengers will also see faster journey times over long distances, with a new express service from Corby through Luton into London.”
Stagecoach lost out to Abellio after it was disqualified from resubmitting its bid due to non-compliance in its pensions practices. Its legal challenge, along with the latest challenge by Arriva, aims to shed light on the specifics of the government’s selection process.
The Department for Transport has responded by saying it has total full confidence in its bidding process.