East Coast rail to come back under public control

Exclusive: Government to 'renationalise' East Coast rail after string of failures

Ms Mayer said: "We should take heed of other successful European models of rail ownership and I look forward to a Labour government which will bring all rail lines back under public control where they belong".

Mr Grayling said the decision had been "very finely balanced" between an operator of last resort and a new, non-profit contract for Vtec.

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 decision followed a statement by the transport minister Chris Grayling in February in which he said the operator had "got its numbers wrong" when bidding for the franchise and that the contract would end earlier than expected, with Stagecoach running the line "a small number of months and no more".

"So on the same day we will start with the launch of a new long-term brand for the East Coast Main Line through the recreation of one of Britain's iconic rail brands, the London and North Eastern Railway, the LNER".

But Stagecoach reported losses on the line and in November a year ago Mr Grayling announced that the franchise would be terminated in 2020 to enable it to become a public-private railway.

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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.

Vtec had struggled to repay the £3.3 billion it bid to run the franchise - twice as much as its two private sector predecessors, GNER and National Express, which defaulted on their contracts.

Stagecoach chief executive Martin Griffiths said he was "surprised and disappointed".

But now the Financial Times reports that Grayling may be considering scrapping the franchise, which would be the third time in less than a decade that the government has been forced to act on the contract.

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

Virgin Trains East Coast- a joint venture between Stagecoach and Virgin- had won the right to operate the franchise between London and Edinburgh for eight years in 2014.

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