Britain scrapped the competition to run trains on a major railway line on Wednesday after discovering it had introduced serious technical flaws in the bidding process.
British transport minister Patrick McLoughlin decided to withdraw the franchise from transport company FirstGroup after his department came across significant flaws in the way procurement had been conducted
Ordering a fresh bidding process McLoughlin said: "I have had to cancel the competition for the running of the West Coast franchise because of deeply regrettable and completely unacceptable mistakes made by my department in the way it managed the process.
"A detailed examination by my officials into what happened has revealed these flaws and means it is no longer possible to award a new franchise on the basis of the competition that was held.
He added: "West Coast passengers can rest assured that while we seek urgently to resolve the future arrangements the trains that run now will continue to run, with the same drivers, the same staff and timetables as planned."
Two independent reviews into the competition have also been ordered.
The decision to ditch the deal means there will not be any arrangement in place to operate trains on the West Coast line when the existing franchise expires in December.
The contract -- awarded to FirstGroup in August -- was mired in controversy after Richard Branson's Virgin Rail, the current operator of the service, had gone to the High Court to seek a judicial review.
FirstGroup bid a basic £5.5 billion (6.8 billion euros, $8.9 billion) to run services until 2026, £700 million more than what Virgin had offered.
The West Coast Main Line is the busiest and the most important intercity rail route in Britain, connecting London to major cities including Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool and Glasgow.