UK rail operator FirstGroup is planning to bid for the troubled East Coast rail franchise.

The operator says it is planning to bid for the line if it is put up for tender in the next year, reports

The rail operator says the route from London to Edinburgh remains an attractive option.

The group says its main focus is to cut debts and its target is to save $164m in cash in 2009 to reduce borrowings.

The franchise has been for sale ever since the government took it over following a shortage of funds.

FirstGroup made a bid for National Express earlier in 2009 which was then aborted.