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United Kingdom to renationalise East Coast train line
16 May 2018, 05:32 | Devin Moran
Virgin Trains East Coast- a joint venture between Stagecoach and Virgin- was awarded the eight-year franchise to run trains in November 2014
Those companies have run the lines on a for-profit basis, but the government has been forced to step in when those contracts have failed, and the government-owned Directly Operated Railways ran the East Coast service from 2009-2015.
It is the third time in a just over a decade that the government has called a halt to the East Coast franchise. Virgin and Stagecoach then announced they were negotiating revised terms.
"I plan to use a period of Operator of Last Resort control to shape the new partnership", Grayling said.
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.
"However, we respect the government's decision".
"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".
The failure of the current East Coast contract under the pro-privatisation Conservative government plays into the hands of the opposition Labour party who have pledged to nationalise industries like rail and water.
Leeds City Council leader Judith Blake also shared similar frustrations, claiming in a statement that public operation can deliver "real improvements" to services.
"Having more stability in the underlying contract between Government and the train company will help achieve these things that matter most to passengers".
Rail services through part of Nottinghamshire are being brought back under public control.
"This is one of the areas where we can supplement public investment, of which we're putting a record amount in the next five years, with private investment that can unlock the potential of digital technology to create even more capacity on our railways".
Transport Secretary Chris Grayling told parliament the East Coast Main Line franchise would be halted after it made considerable losses under a private company.
"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".
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. "Because they can not do it".
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