World

British government takes direct control of East Coast franchise

British government takes direct control of East Coast franchise

His remarks come in response to Chris Grayling's announcement that the failed East Coast franchise will be taken over by the DfT in June in order to smoothen the transition to a brand-new East Coast Partnership, which will operate as a public-private partnership similar to South Eastern.

London North Eastern Railway will be taking over the East Coast Mainline from 24th June 2018.

The decision to temporarily bring the line back into public ownership is politically embarrassing for the Government, which has repeatedly defended the private franchise model for the railways.

"We believe our plans offered a positive, value-for-money way forward for passengers, taxpayers and local communities, ensuring the continuation of the exciting transformation already under way on East Coast and a smooth transition to the government's new East Coast Partnership", explained Griffiths.

Stagecoach along with Virgin had been negotiating a new contract with the Department for Transport.

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

The public transport operator said the UK Department for Transport has made a decision 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.




Explaining the contract's difficulties in February, Stagecoach said that some of its forecasts for growth on the line were based on enhancements expected to be carried out by state-backed rail infrastructure company Network Rail, but those actions had been either delayed or abandoned.

After 2020 the expectation is for the East Coast mainline to be operated on a new "public-private partnership model".

"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".

"They will then begin the task of working with Network Rail to bring together the teams operating the track and trains on the LNER network".

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.

Anthony Smith, chief executive of the independent watchdog Transport Focus, said: "Whichever organisation runs East Coast services, under whatever new arrangements, passengers will be looking for the quality of current services to be maintained and built on".


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