Why has East Coast Mainline hit the buffers again?

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

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

It will be rebranded as the London and North Eastern Railway.

Chris Grayling, the Transport Secretary, will pull the plug on the East Coast rail franchise after a string of failures by Stagecoach and Virgin.

Grayling told MPs that the business would be "publicly run for a short period", mirroring the period between 2009 and 2014 when Directly Operated Railways managed ICEC services under the East Coast brand.

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".

But he opted for an Operator of Last Resort (OLR) controlled by the DfT, to "begin the transition" to the public-private body named East Coast Partnership.

The London to Edinburgh line has been run by a joint venture between Stagecoach and Virgin, for the last three years.

Mr Grayling said there would be no impact on passengers or train staff as the switch would be "no different from a normal franchise change".

A Virgin Train on the East Coast Main Line.

Mr Grayling told Parliament Stagecoach and VTEC would have lost over £200 million and suffered considerable "reputational price" due to the failed rail service.

Stagecoach Group said its understanding was that the announcement does not directly affect other franchises and bids for franchises in which the company has an involvement.

The government is set to renationalise the East Coast mainline, one of Britain's busiest railway lines.

The British government is renationalizing the rail route between London and Edinburgh, taking back the line from a private company after it over-estimated profits, in a step likely to reignite a debate over public ownership of the UK's railways.

Those advocating renationalisation across the piece should be asking themselves whether DOR would have been able to run the service it did had it been obliged to invest as much in the route as did Virgin Trains or if it were having to return as much to taxpayers as Virgin Trains.

One of the fiercest critics since the decision was made in November has been Lord Adonis, who resigned as chair of the National Infrastructure Commission at the end of 2017. Grayling said that while there'll be no nationalization, East Coast will be recast as a partnership between public and private sectors.

Stagecoach said it was "surprised and disappointed" that the government had decided not to proceed with proposals it had previously put forward to continue the franchise.

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