STAGECOACH has stepped up its legal campaign against the UK Government as the transport giant continues its fight back against the move to rule it out of the bidding for three major rail franchises.

The Perth-based company said it was now taking legal action against the Department for Transport (Dft) in connection with the procurement of the West Coast Partnership, claiming the government has breached its statutory duties in connection with the competition. It has also launched a claim for a judicial review.

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The action has been brought by the West Coast Trains Partnership, in which Stagecoach has a 50 per cent stake. French operator SNCF has 30% and Virgin 20%.

The latest salvo comes shortly after Stagecoach revealed it would be taking action against the Dft after being ruled out of the running for the East Midlands franchise, which was awarded to ScotRail operator Abellio.

READ MORE: Stagecoach banned from competing for rail franchises

The fightback follows the disclosure in April that the Stagecoach bids for the East Midlands, South Eastern and West Coast franchises has been disqualified by the Dft. Its bids were barred amid claims the transport company did not include sufficient provision for the Railway Pension Scheme, which Stagecoach strongly objected.