Nationalise the railways: East Coast train line entering public control

London North Eastern Railway take over Virgin Trains East Coast

The DfT team will take over once the current contract terminates on 24 June, and will work closely with Network Rail to ensure a smooth transition to the new East Coast Partnership - operating under the brand-new London North Eastern Railway brand.

Chris Grayling, the Transport Secretary, will pull the plug on the East Coast rail franchise after a string of failures by Stagecoach and Virgin. Virgin and Stagecoach then announced they were negotiating revised terms.

Stagecoach said on Wednesday that the government had scrapped the contract, three months after Transport Minister Chris Grayling said he was considering taking back control of the line which it has run since 2015. So I am instructing the new board, working with my officials, to bring forward proposals which enable employees to share directly in the success of LNER both as a pure train operator and subsequently as the new partnership.

It is the third time since 2007 that the 393-mile (632 km) route has been returned to government hands, highlighting the difficulties for private companies of accurately bidding to run services on the privatised train network.

"However, we respect the government's decision".

A Virgin Train on the East Coast Main Line.

However, Stagecoach told investors in February that VTEC's four-weekly premium payments had been 30% higher than those made by its state-owned predecessor East Coast (which replaced National Express when its franchise failed), despite "a challenging economic environment, increasing political uncertainty, significantly lower rates of growth across the British rail network over the past two years and sustained poor performance by NR". Supporters claim it saves the taxpayer money in the long run, and improves customer service and reliability.

Grayling also said that the government was assessing options for transferring some Govia Thameslink Railway commuter services operating on the ECML to LNER when the TSGN franchise ends in 2021 and enhanced cross-London services have been implemented under the Thameslink Programme.

He said: 'It's important staff and passengers are properly protected while, once again, the transport secretary tries to patch up a failing franchise system that everyone knows doesn't work.

"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. Because they can not do it".

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