The East Coast Mainline rail service will be brought back under public control after the troubled franchise agreement with Virgin Trains was terminated, it has beenannounced.
In a stock market statement – ahead of an announcement by transport secretary Chris Grayling in Parliament-Stagecoach Group chief executive Martin Griffiths, said: “We are surprised and disappointed that the Department for Transport has chosen not to proceed with our proposals.
“We believe our plans offered a positive, value-for-money way forward for passengers, taxpayers and local communities, ensuring the continuation of the exciting transformation already under way on East Coast and a smooth transition to the Government’s new East Coast Partnership.
“However, we respect the Government’s decision. We will work constructively with the DfT and the OLR in the weeks ahead to ensure a professional transfer to the new arrangements, supporting our employees and maintaining the same clear focus on our customers as we have over the past three years.
“Today’s decision should not detract from the hard work and dedication of our people at Virgin Trains East Coast, who have been central to the transformation we have been delivering for our customers over the past three years. During that time, we have attracted more passengers, greatly increased investment, achieved industry leading customer satisfaction and made significant payments to the taxpayer to reinvest in public services.
“Despite today’s news, we believe that we can continue to make a positive contribution to the UK rail market, delivering long-term customer benefits and sustainable returns for taxpayers and investors.”
Shadow transport secretary Andy McDonald had earlier tweeted: “Transport SecretaryChris Grayling is due to make a Statement on his taxpayer bailout ofVirgin/Stagecoach on the East Coast but has refused to share it with me inadvance. He is breaking the Ministerial code to prevent the Govts calamitousrail policies being scrutinised.”