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How did the Department for Transport go off the rails?

Virgin Rail will run the West Coast main line for a further 23 months, the Government announced. Photo: PA Wire

Remember the Virgin Trains mess? A multi-million pound shambles that cost tax payers a fortune...well we won't get our money back, but today (at last) we will get some answers. Later an official report into what went wrong will be made public.

Meanwhile, the very same Government Department has bundled together a series of developments aiming to present the whole thing as great news.

In a press release it says:

Rail passengers will experience better services including 28,000 more seats a day under an agreement announced today for Virgin Trains to continue operating rail services on the West Coast Main Line.

It coincides with the early completion of a Government-backed deal to roll out 106 new Pendolino carriages, providing passengers with four new 11-carriage trains and lengthening 31 existing trains from nine carriages to 11. A new hourly service between London and Glasgow will also be introduced.

Let's not be fooled. This was a monumental foul-up and today we will want to know how much it has cost us and who was responsible. So far a handful of civil servants have been investigated and suspended - but it seems inconceivable they acted alone.

As often in the rail industry - there has been a delay...but today answers are on the timetable.

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