Government terminates Virgin Trains East Coast franchise

Stagecoach and Virgin has lost £200 million running services such as this one over Berwick-upon-Tweed

Stagecoach and Virgin has lost £200 million running services such as this one over Berwick-upon-TweedALAMY

A key element of the VTEC franchise bid was the expansion of services from 2019 onwards based on the delivery of new trains (currently under construction) and a programme of infrastructure enhancements on the East Coast Main Line (ECML).

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said the East Coast franchise "is not a failing railway" and Stagecoach and Virgin got their sums wrong.

Your journeys on the East Coast Mainline will be unaffected during the transition to the new operator, tickets, timetables, and train services will all stay the same, even though a different operator will be in charge.

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

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.

Whilst I am confident that my constituents will notice very little difference in the day-to-day operation of services following the change from Virgin Trains East Coast to the recreated LNER, it is important that we address the reasons why East Coast have failed in the first place.

"We will work constructively with the DfT and the OLR 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".

Passengers want reliable rail services and they want more of them.

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He told MPs the firms have paid a "high financial and reputational price" in relation to the East Coast route.

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.

The RMT, the largest rail union, called for the switch back to the public sector to be made permanent.

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.

" When it is fully formed the new LNER operation will be a partnership between the public and private sectors".

The Government will renationalise one of Britain's busiest railway lines after its private operators admitted they could not afford to keep running it.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling is expected to make a statement to parliament shortly. "Because they can not do it".

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