Nationalise the railways: East Coast train line entering public control 3 months ago

Nationalise the railways: East Coast train line entering public control

Rail services on East Coast Main Line are being brought back under UK government control, operator Stagecoach Group says

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.

It is the third private operator to fail to complete its full term in running services on the route.

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

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

Advertisement

"I plan to use a period of Operator of Last Resort control to shape the new partnership," Grayling said.

He added there will be no sanctions against Virgin or Stagecoach for their failures. Labour described the decision to end the £3.3 billion contract as a "bailout."

Rail, Maritime and Transport union general secretary Mick Cash said: "This is the second time that the Government have called upon the public sector to launch a rescue operation on the East Coast Main Line and instead of being a temporary arrangement Chris Grayling should listen to his staff and the public and make it permanent.

"After three shambolic private sector failures on the East Coast the message should now sink in that these cowboys cannot be trusted and should be locked out of the system on a permanent basis."