East Coast main line to be brought back under public control

London North Eastern Railway take over Virgin Trains East Coast

London North Eastern Railway take over Virgin Trains East Coast

"Today's decision should not detract from the hard work and dedication of our people at Virgin Trains East Coast, who have been central to the transformation we have been delivering for our customers over the past three years".

Passenger and freight rail services in Britain were privatized in the 1990s when routes were grouped into franchises and operators bid to run services for a set number of years.

The loss-making service is being renamed London and North Eastern Railway (LNER).

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling is due to confirm later this afternoon that he will bring the line back into public ownership following a string of failures.

Stagecoach said it and Virgin had been negotiating for a new contract with the Department for Transport but that it understood Mr Grayling was "no longer considering" them for the deal.

Employees working for Virgin Trains East Coast will transfer over to LNER.

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'They will then begin the task of working with Network Rail to bring together the teams operating the track and trains on the LNER network'.

Stagecoach reported losses on the line and in November previous year Mr Grayling announced that the franchise would be terminated in 2020 to enable it to become a public-private railway. It continues and will continue to generate substantial returns for the Government, and the most recent figures show passenger satisfaction at 92 per cent.

However, he also said: "The route has its challenges but it is not a failing railway".

"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".

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.

Stagecoach said on Wednesday that the government had scrapped the contract, three months after Transport Minister Chris Grayling said he was considering taking back control of the line which it has run since 2015.

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