The UK Government has announced it will strip the troubled rail operator National Express of its East Anglia rail franchise three years early in March 2011.

The franchise, which is the operator’s second to be lost after the East Coast Main Line, could have been extended until 2014.

The company, which runs services from London’s Liverpool Street station to several towns and cities, lost the East Coast Main Line to a state-run company earlier in November as it failed to meet its financial commitments.

The government said the process for securing a new operator would begin immediately so that a new franchise could begin in April 2011.

The decision on the company’s third rail franchise c2c, which expires in 2011, is under consideration.

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