United Kingdom to renationalise East Coast train line

Gladys Abbott
May 17, 2018

The government insists that the East Coast service is not failing, and will continue to make generate revenues for the public purse. It is not a failing railway. Virgin and Stagecoach then announced they were negotiating revised terms. "We can not expect companies to take on unlimited liabilities otherwise they would not bid for franchises".

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

He added that the firms have paid a "high financial and reputational price" in relation to the East Coast route.

Q&A Does the East Coast renationalisation mark a change in direction for rail policy?

The London to Edinburgh service, which runs through Peterborough, will be taken back into public control on June 24.

He reiterated that, as the proposed East Coast Partnership contractual structure evolved, the ECML infrastructure would remain in the hands of the public sector via NR.

It said on Wednesday it hoped to continue to play a role in Britain's rail network in the future, and continues to be involved in running other United Kingdom rail franchises including the West Coast line between London and Manchester.

Fallacy one is this - this announcement somehow represents a bail-out of Virgin Trains East Coast, the current franchise operator.

So who will now run the trains?

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"We believe our plans offered a positive, value-for-money way forward for passengers, taxpayers and local communities, ensuring the continuation of the exciting transformation already underway on East Coast and a smooth transition to the government's new East Coast Partnership".

On January 1 1948 the LNER was divided up between the Eastern, North Eastern and Scottish regions of the new railway executive as part of the nationalisation programme.

Stagecoach said it had attempted to negotiate a new contract with the Department for Transport, without success.

The line that Great Northern operates may come under public control.

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Labour's transport spokesman, Andy McDonald, said the government was seeking to create a "smokescreen" by touting closer state-corporate ties and that the proposal does not amount to nationalization.

Just as councils, facing tough spending decisions, have perhaps let pothole repairs slide, governments are likely at some stage to decide education and the NHS matter more than ensuring the 3.10 to York is on time. Rail companies win, passengers and taxpayers lose. The chair of the Commons Transport Committee Lilian Greenwood said it was "a very sorry tale". "If Virgin-Stagecoach got their figures wrong, so did the government", said Greenwood. Lower passenger numbers and revenue than forecast have seen Stagecoach losing around £200m on the franchise to date.

Stagecoach boss Martin Griffiths said he was "surprised and disappointed" at the government's decision.

Inevitably, the temporary nationalisation led to calls for a permanent one.

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