Virgin to run West Coast rail route for 23 months

Virgin Rail has signed a deal with the government to run the West Coast mainline for another 23 months, following the collapse of a disastrous bidding process for a new 13-year contract.

This summer FirstGroup beat incumbent Virgin to win the £5bn deal following a hard-fought contest.

But in October the government was forced to admit that the process had been flawed and said it would have to be re-run in full.

Later today an investigation will be published into what went wrong with bids to run trains from London to Birmingham, Manchester and Glasgow;