East Coast rail services to be taken into public control

Lloyd Doyle
May 16, 2018

But Stagecoach reported losses on the line and in November past year Grayling announced that the franchise would be terminated in 2020 and become a public-private railway.

The public transport operator said the UK Department for Transport has chose to appoint "Operator of Last Resort" for the East Coast train service and is "no longer considering" entering into a new franchise contract due to heavy losses incurred by Stagecoach and Virgin.

Trains will be run by the Department for Transport through an operator of last resort.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling is due to confirm later this afternoon that he will bring the line back into public ownership following a string of failures.

Stagecoach, which has operated the line with Virgin Trains since 2015, says it has been advised that an "operator of last resort" would be appointed to run the London to Edinburgh service.

Grayling told parliament on Wednesday that the new railway would be a partnership between public and private operators after the Stagecoach contract ends on June 24, five years earlier than planned.

It reported losses on the line and in November previous year Mr Grayling announced that the franchise would be terminated in 2020 to enable it to become a public-private railway.

Virgin Trains' new Azuma at York Station
Image Virgin Trains' new Azuma at York Station

The government is to take back control of the East Coast rail franchise after its private operators failed to make money.

GNER was stripped of the route in 2007 after its parent company suffered financial difficulties, while National Express withdrew in 2009.

It is the third time in a decade that the government has called a halt to the East Coast franchise.

He added: "However, we respect the government's decision".

In February, Stagecoach's chief executive Martin Griffiths estimated the company's total losses at £260m.

"Despite today's news, we believe that we can continue to make a positive contribution to the United Kingdom rail market, delivering long-term customer benefits and sustainable returns for taxpayers and investors", he added.


Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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