Britain renationalises East Coast rail line


LONDON (Reuters) – The British government is to take back control of the running of the rail route between London and Edinburgh from private operator Stagecoach after the company failed to make the contract work financially.

FILE PHOTO: A train travelling on the East Coast mainline is reflected in the River Tweed as it crosses the Royal Border Bridge at dusk, in Berwick-Upon-Tweed in Northumberland, Britain August 22, 2013. REUTERS/Toby Melville/File Photo

It is the third time since 2007 that the problematic route has been returned to government hands, highlighting the difficulties facing Britain’s privatised train network.

Stagecoach said in a statement on Wednesday that the government had scrapped the contract three months after Transport Minister Chris Grayling said he was considering taking back control of the line.

“We have now been advised by the Department for Transport that the Secretary of State for Transport plans to announce today that he intends to appoint the “Operator of Last Resort” to operate the InterCity East Coast trains services,” Stagecoach said.

Stagecoach has been running the line since 2015 but the government said in February it had got its numbers wrong, meaning that it had breached a financial covenant.

Reporting by Sarah Young, Editing by Stephen Addison

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