After 15 years of running the west coast rail franchise, Virgin Trains lost the contract to First Group last year, a decision the government overturned after serious flaws were identified by Virgin in the tendering process. The company, which has spent £1.5bn on new trains and more than doubled customer numbers since 1997, has reportedly had its franchise extended until 2017, and is expected to enter the recently announced competition for the east coast line. Chief executive Tony Collins, 55, reported annualised sales of £871m in 2012.
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