East Coast rail route through Notts brought back under public control

British government takes direct control of East Coast franchise

British government takes direct control of East Coast franchise

Virgin Trains East Coast - a joint venture between Stagecoach and Virgin - was awarded the eight-year franchise to run trains in November 2014.

He said: "Every announcement is a smokescreen to divert attention from the failings of the Transport Secretary's policy".

A train travelling on the East Coast mainline is reflected in the River Tweed as it crosses the Royal Border Bridge at dusk, in Berwick-Upon-Tweed in Northumberland, Britain August 22, 2013.

The Government had indicated it remained open to the possibility of allowing Stagecoach to keep the franchise until 2020 on a not-for-profit basis.

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

"After three shambolic private sector failures on the East Coast the message should now sink in that these cowboys can not be trusted and should be locked out of the system on a permanent basis. RMT will now be seeking an urgent meeting with the new operator to bolt down guarantees for staff on jobs, conditions and pensions".

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said he would terminate the contract with Virgin Trains East Coast from the end of next month.

The loss-making service is being renamed London and North Eastern Railway (LNER) which is the name used by the company that operated the line before nationalisation in the late 1940s. "We will work constructively with the Department for Transport and the operator of last resort in the weeks ahead to ensure a professional transfer to the new arrangements, supporting our employees and maintaining the same clear focus on our customers as we have over the past three years", Griffiths added.

He expected the majority of the enhanced services planned by Virgin and Stagecoach for delivery by 2023 to be implemented by LNER, although this would largely depend on the ability of infrastructure manager Network Rail to deliver them.

The government has said that it does not intend to strip Virgin and Stagecoach of the franchising passports which they hold, and thus they would be able to bid for future franchises.

He told the Commons: "A multi-disciplinary panel has considered the situation and recommended that both companies continue as train operators".

All tickets booked with Virgin Trains East Coast will be valid on all London North Eastern Railway.

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