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Britain renationalises East Coast rail line
16 May 2018, 05:31 | Erica Roy
Exclusive: Government to 'renationalise' East Coast rail after string of failures
The DfT team will take over once the current contract terminates on 24 June, and will work closely with Network Rail to ensure a smooth transition to the new East Coast Partnership - operating under the brand-new London North Eastern Railway brand.
"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".
VTEC is the third private operator to fail to complete the full length of a contract to run services on the East Coast route.
Mr Grayling said: "Stagecoach and Virgin Trains got their bid wrong and they are now paying a price".
Shadow Transport Secretary Andy McDonald accused Mr Grayling of treating the opposition and the Commons with contempt after withholding his statement until half an hour before he delivered it.
United Kingdom government will take back control of the running of the rail route between London and Edinburgh from private operator Stagecoach (temporarily) after the company failed to make the contract work financially.
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.
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.
Stagecoach reported losses on the line, and in November a year ago Grayling announced that the franchise would be terminated in 2020 to enable it to become a public-private railway.
"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".
"I plan to use a period of Operator of Last Resort control to shape the new partnership".
"It will have representatives of both the train operating team and Network Rail, as well as independent members who will importantly ensure the interests of other operators on the route are taken into account".
The government has said that it does not intend to strip Virgin and Stagecoach of the franchising passports which they hold, and thus they would be able to bid for future franchises.
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