East Coast mainline to be renationalised again

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

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

Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell said he is pleased to see Grayling "implementing first stage of Labour's Manifesto promise to renationalise the railways" following the announcement, and echoed Caroline Lucas's appeals for public ownership to be extended across the entire network.

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.

Anthony Smith, chief executive of the independent watchdog Transport Focus, said: "Whichever organisation runs East Coast services, under whatever new arrangements, passengers will be looking for the quality of current services to be maintained and built on".

On the face of it, the government will lose the remaining £2.3bn of the £3.3bn promised by the franchise.

Mr Grayling, who has previously insisted there was "no question of anyone receiving a bailout", told Parliament that taxpayers had not lost any money "at this time". But he added they wouldn't be excluded from bidding to run other parts of the network in future.

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Majority East Coast shareholder Stagecoach Group said: "We have now been advised by the Department for Transport that the secretary of state plans to announce today that he intends to appoint the "Operator of Last Resort" to operate InterCity East Coast". No disruption is expected to services in the transfer, and you will still receive a high-quality service from Staff.

The Rail Delivery Group, the industry body for Britain's railways that includes state-owned Network Rail, pointed out today that Virgin Trains has invested more in the two years in which it has operated the route than DOR did in its five-and-a-half years running it.

The new publicly controlled rail line will be renamed the London and North Eastern Railway (LNER).

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

"Just hours before the UK Government confirmed its failed privatisation experiment had come undone, SNP Transport Minister Humza Yousaf brazenly shrugged his shoulders and said he doesn't even care whether the East Coast rail franchise is in public hands or not".

McDonald pointed out that the government had failed to impose restrictions on what Virgin and Stagecoach could do next, calling the statement "a smokescreen to divert attention from the failings of his policy". Let us know and a selection of your questions will be answered by a BBC journalist.

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