Government to take control of East Coast Main Line from Stagecoach Group

Remigio Civitarese
Mag 16, 2018

The organisation, which has run the franchise with Virgin Trains since 2015, said it had been advised an "operator of last resort" would be appointed to run the London to Edinburgh service.

Stagecoach Group will hand back operation of the East Coast Main Line to the government, the train operator has said.

However, he said he wanted the "smoothest possible transition" to the planned new East Coast Partnership, which will run both trains and tracks on the route.

Stagecoach pledged to "work constructively with the DfT and the OLR in the weeks ahead to ensure a professional transfer to the new arrangements".

"The team that's been working for me since last autumn to form the Operator of Last Resort will take immediate control of passenger services".

"East Coast is now the top-rated franchised train service in Great Britain - with 92 per cent overall satisfaction with the last journey in the latest National Rail Passenger Survey".

According to the Guardian, Grayling is deciding whether to renationalise the rail line between London and Edinburgh or negotiate a not-for-profit arrangement with current franchisees Stagecoach and Virgin Trains.

Perth-based Stagecoach, which has a 90 per cent stake in the franchise, angered MPs by announcing the decision minutes before Mr Grayling made a statement to the House of Commons.

Mr Grayling insisted in February that "there is no question of anyone receiving a bailout".

While Grayling said there will be no sanctions against Virgin or Stagecoach for their failures, Labour and unions described the decision to end the £3.3bn contract as a "bailout".

Virgin Trains East Coast is the third private operator to fail to complete the full length of a contract to run services on the East Coast route.

GNER was stripped of the route in 2007 after its parent company suffered financial difficulties, while National Express withdrew in 2009.

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