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East Coast railway line through Stevenage brought back under public control

16 May 2018

The loss-making service is being renamed London and North Eastern Railway (LNER) which is the name used by the company that operated the line before nationalisation in the late 1940s.

Virgin Trains East Coast- a joint venture between Stagecoach and Virgin- had won the right to operate the franchise between London and Edinburgh for eight years in 2014. Virgin and Stagecoach then announced they were negotiating revised terms.

Mr Grayling told the Commons: 'I will terminate Virgin Trains East Coast's contract on June 24 2018.

Mr Grayling said the decision had been "very finely balanced" between an operator of last resort and a new, non-profit contract for Vtec.

Stagecoach chief executive Martin Griffiths said he was "surprised and disappointed".

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A key element of the VTEC franchise bid was the expansion of services from 2019 onwards based on the delivery of new trains (currently under construction) and a programme of infrastructure enhancements on the East Coast Main Line (ECML). "We will work constructively with DfT and DOHL in the weeks ahead to ensure a professional transfer to the new arrangements, supporting our employees and maintaining the same clear focus on our customers as we have over the past three years", he said.

"Come on Chris, East Coast line today, the whole system tomorrow", he tweeted, jokingly.

Rail services through part of Nottinghamshire are being brought back under public control.

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Rail services on the East Coast Main Line will be brought back under public control after ministers axed the deal with operator Virgin.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling is expected to make a statement to parliament shortly.

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"While reliability must continue to improve, and promised and new investments made, passengers will continue to judge services by the performance on the day of the train company and Network Rail, value for money, cleanliness of the train and crowding levels.

This is one of the areas where we can supplement public investment, of which we're putting a record amount in the next five years, with private investment that can unlock the potential of digital technology to create even more capacity on our railways".

He said: "Every announcement is a smokescreen to divert attention from the failings of the Transport Secretary's policy".

"Anything else risks playing out the same expensive farce over and over again. Because they can not do it".

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East Coast railway line through Stevenage brought back under public control