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Sir Richard Branson's rail company Virgin Trains will carry on running services on the West Coast Mainline for a further 23 months, it was announced today.
Virgin had been set to lose the West Coast franchise it has operated since 1997.
The Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin has appeared before MPs enquiring into the 'shambles' of the West Coast mainline rail franchise.
He repeated his apology for the 'very serious' flaws in the process which led to it being scrapped last month.
A senior official appearing alongside him denied there was evidence of' bias' in the department against Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Group.
The Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin will update MPs later today on the West Coast rail franchise fiasco.
The department was forced to scrap the deal with First Group when it was discovered that civil servants had made "unacceptable mistakes" during the tendering process. Virgin trains are running the line on a provisional basis.
Virgin will continue to run train services on the West Coast Main Line temporarily after securing an extension.
Sir Richard Branson's company will remain in control of the line for between nine and 13 months before interim and long-term providers are decided upon.
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