Stagecoach are demanding a review as it has emerged that a rival had been provided details of their bid.
It has been alledged that the department for transport (DfT) failed to probe the incident properly, this comes week after Stagecoach was banned from applying for three rail franchises.
The DfT denies that any information provided to the rival company Abellio, would have had any influence.
A spokesman for Stagecoach said, “We do not consider the matter closed. There is growing evidence that the procurement process followed by the DfT in this case has been materially flawed and should be subject to an independent investigation.
“We believe there are also wider questions to be answered across other franchise competitions.”
A spokesperson for the DfT said, “An expert third-party investigation established conclusively that Abellio did not access any information relating to any other bidders that affected their bid. There was no effect whatsoever on the outcome of the bid process,”
“Stagecoach disqualified themselves from the process by lodging non-compliant bids.”
Writing on his blog site earlier in April, Sir Richard said Virgin Trains “could be gone from the UK in November.
“We’re baffled why the DfT did not tell us that we would be disqualified or even discuss the issue – they have known about this qualification in our bid on pensions for months.
“The pensions regulator has warned that more cash will be needed in the future, but no one knows how big that bill might eventually be, and no responsible company could take that risk with pensions.
“We can’t accept a risk we can’t manage; this would have been reckless. This is an industry-wide issue and forcing rail companies to take these risks could lead to the failure of more rail franchises.”
Almost two weeks ago the train and bus operator, Stagecoach were verbally informed by the DfT, that they are now disqualified from the UK franchise competitions over, South Eastern, West Coast and East Midlands.
Stagecoach chief executive Martin Griffiths said at the time, “We are extremely concerned at both the DfT’s decision and its timing. The department has had full knowledge of these bids for a lengthy period and we are seeking an urgent meeting to discuss our significant concerns.
“The Pensions Regulator has indicated that an additional £5bn to £6bn would be needed to plug the gap in train company pensions.”