The Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin has said privatising the East Coast main line would put passengers "in the driving seat".
Mr McLoughlin said: "This programme is a major step in delivering tangible improvements to services, providing long-term certainty to the market and supporting our huge programme of rail investment.
"Above all, in future franchise competitions we are placing passengers in the driving seat by ensuring that their views and satisfaction levels are taken into account when deciding which companies run our railway services."
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Staff have been the victim of online trolling. A petition against the use of animal fat in £5 notes was started by a man from Keswick.