The UK Government has decided to re-nationalise the East Coast Mainline service after terminating the contract with the current franchise.
The decision was announced by the UK Secretary of State for Transport Chris Grayling in parliament.
This will be the third time since 2007 that the 632km route, which connects London King’s Cross with Leeds, York, Newcastle and Edinburgh, will be nationalised.
London North Eastern Railway (LNER) will take over the franchise from 24 June this year.
In 2015, the current operator Virgin Trains East Coast, a joint venture between Stagecoach and Virgin, signed a £3.3bn contract to operate the line to 2023.
In February this year, Grayling informed parliament that Virgin Trains East Coast may lack the funds to operate the service within months. He noted that Stagecoach and Virgin Trains have lost around £200m to fulfil their contracted commitments.
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However, he also said that the route is not failing, but that it is the operator which is incurring losses. The recent figures show that passenger satisfaction on the route is nearly 92%.
He stated that Department for Transport (DfT) team has been working since last year to form an operator of last resort that will assume control of passenger services on the East Coast Mainline.
A new board with an independent chair will soon be created to supervise the operations of the new LNER route. The board will also work with DfT to develop the new partnership.
The partnership will comprise members of the train operating team, Network Rail and independent members.
The government assured that the train services on the line will remain unaffected and the current tickets and timetables will continue to remain valid even though LNER will be in charge of the line.