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Fresh call for rail re-nationalisation after East Coast mainline comes back under government control

The East Coast mainline has been re-nationalised for the third time after successive private companies failed to keep the trains running. Credit: ITV News

There have been fresh calls from the Labour party for the rail network to be re-nationalised as the East East mainline through Stevenage and Peterborough came back under government control.

Stagecoach and Virgin agreed to pay £3.3 billion to run the franchise until 2023 but the contract was ended prematurely after they failed to hit revenue targets.

Now the line has been re-nationalised for the third time after successive private companies failed to keep the trains running.

The company now running the line is know as London North Eastern Railway (LNER) and will be run by the same managing director, David Horne.

Labour were campaigning at stations calling for the re-nationalisation of all the private rail operating companies.

  • Click below to watch a report by ITV News Anglia's Liz Summers

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Railway expert fights plans to close a number of crossing on the East Coast Mainline

A railway expert is fighting plans to close a number of road crossings on the East Coast Mainline.

Robin Jones says the proposed closures from the Peterborough area down to Stevenage are an unnecessary cost cutting measure.

But Network Rail says it will make the line safer as well as reducing the chances of crossings being misused by motorists.

Click below to watch a report by ITV News Anglia's Stuart Leithes

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Virgin trains consortium chosen to run East Coast main line franchise

A consortium involving Sir Richard Branson's train company Virgin Trains has been chosen to run the East Coast main line franchise from next year.

Virgin Trains has been chosen to run the East Coast main line franchise Credit: Danny Lawson/PA Wire/Press Association Images

The Department for Transport (DfT) said the consortium involving Virgin and transport company Stagecoach, who already run the West Coast line, will start the East Coast franchise in March 2015.

There has been speculation that a consortium of Eurotunnel and French company Keolis which is 70% owned by French state railway SNCF, had been chosen as the new East Coast operator.

But Eurotunnel/Keolis have now missed out, as have the other shortlisted bidder, FirstGroup (correct) which has recently also lost its First Capital Connect and ScotRail franchises.

Signal fault delays East Coast Main Line

Commuters faced long queues on station platforms after a signal fault on one of the country's busiest rail routes caused delays.

The problem with the signalling system between Alexandra Palace and New Barnet in north London caused disruption to East Coast Main Line services.

Network Rail and First Capital Connect apologised for the disruption.

"Our engineers have been out on site since early this morning and are working to fix the problem as soon as possible.

"An investigation into the root cause of the failure is also under way."

The problem could be fixed by midday, the East Coast operator said.

"A limited East Coast service is operating via Hertford, with journey times extended by up to 45 minutes.

"Network Rail, who are responsible for signalling, track and overhead power lines, expect signalling to be restored by around 12 midday; disruption to some services can then be expected until mid-afternoon."

– Phil Verster, route managing director for Network Rail

Click here for updated train running information.

Calls to keep East Coast trains in public ownership

An East Coast Main Line train calls at Peterborough station Credit: ITV Anglia

Calls are being made for East Coast Main Line trains to remain in public ownership.

The service, which runs through Stevenage and Peterborough, has reported a return of more than £200 million since it was re-nationalised when the previous private operator handed back the franchise.

Green Party politicians are planning to hand in a petition containing 23,000 signatures calling for the service not to be franchised back to the private sector

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Bidding starts to run East Coast main line

The East Coast main line, which runs through Stevenage and Peterborough, is to be re-privatised under plans announced by the Government.

The franchise has in the past been given up twice by the private sector, with the line being run by the Department for Transport since the end of 2009.

A bidding competition has now started with a new operator expected to be in place by February 2015.

Transport union critical of East Coast main line announcement

A transport union boss has described the Government's announcement to privatise the East Coast main line as "profiteering".

General secretary of the RMT Bob Crow said: "Despite wasting hundreds of millions of pounds of taxpayers' money on the franchising circus, and instead of learning the lessons of the privatisation disasters on the East and West Coast main lines and across the rest of the network,

the Government has this morning given the green light to a whole new wave of profiteering that will have the train companies laughing all the way to the bank."

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