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British gov't scraps decision to strip Virgin Rail Group of its rail franchise

LONDON -- Britain's government on Wednesday scrapped a decision to strip Richard Branson's Virgin Rail Group of its rail franchise after admitting there were serious flaws in the bidding process.

The U-turn was reportedly set to result in the suspension of some government staff responsible for the decision in August to award the West Coast main line from London to Glasgow to rivals FirstGroup.

Transport minister Patrick McLoughlin announced that several other franchising competitions had also been halted pending the outcome of two independent reviews into the fiasco.

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