East Coast railway line through Stevenage brought back under public control

Exclusive: Government to 'renationalise' East Coast rail after string of failures

But Stagecoach reported losses on the line and in November previous year Grayling announced that the franchise would be terminated in 2020 and become a public-private railway.

Former John Lewis boss and current mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street, is being brought on board to advise with the East Coast Main Line services being taken back under government control.

"I plan to use a period of Operator of Last Resort control to shape the new partnership".

ECML has been negotiating a new direct award franchise with the department but now understands that the secretary of state for transport is "no longer considering entering into a new franchise" with East Coast Mainline, Stagecoach said in a statement.

Grayling told parliament on Wednesday that the new railway would be a partnership between public and private operators after the Stagecoach contract ends on June 24, five years earlier than planned.

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The London-to-Edinburgh line, operated by Stagecoach Group and Virgin Trains since 2015, will be put under an "operator of last resort" and rebranded the London & North Eastern Railway, or LNER for short.

Stagecoach pledged to "work constructively with the officials and the OLR in the weeks ahead to ensure a "professional transfer to the new arrangements".

"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".

It is the third time since 2007 that the 393-mile (632 km) route has been returned to government hands, highlighting the difficulties for private companies of accurately bidding to run services on the privatised train network. The company also has already funded its full GBP165 million loan commitment to the East Coast franchise.

A Great Northern spokesman told the Comet in response: "The government brought together Great Northern and Thameslink with Southern and Gatwick Express with a objective and that was to modernise and introduce a new, expanded Thameslink network - which is what we will be doing from Sunday".

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