East Coast rail to come back under public control

PA Wire  PA Images                   Transport Secretary Chris Grayling is due to announce that East Coast Mainline will be brought back under public control

"Today's decision should not detract from the hard work and dedication of our people at Virgin Trains East Coast, who have been central to the transformation we have been delivering for our customers over the past three years".

Services were run by the DfT for six years up to VTEC taking over in 2015.

Stagecoach said it and Virgin had been negotiating for a new contract with the Department for Transport but that it understood Mr Grayling was "no longer considering" them for the deal.

'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'.

In February Mr Grayling said the franchise would only be able to continue in its current form for a "very small number of months" as Stagecoach had "got its numbers wrong" and "overbid".

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.

"The route has its challenges, but it is not a failing railway".

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"In all circumstances ownership of the infrastructure will remain in the public sector, but the railway is at its strongest when it is a genuine partnership between public and private".

" This means taxpayers have not lost out because revenues are lower than predicted: only VTEC and its parent companies have made losses at this time".

Trains on the East Coast Mainline will gradually transfer to LNER branding from VTEC branding.

In February Grayling admitted the beleaguered East Coast mainline rail franchise had collapsed.

The East Coast was a successful public company between 2009 and 2014 returning over £1 billion to the Treasury.

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".

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