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."
More top news
Ex-Hurricane Gonzalo arrives overnight, bringing heavy rain and coastal gales. A Met Office yellow warning for strong winds has been issued
Mary Burridge from Bedfordshire tells ITV News about the work her grandparents did as volunteer medics in a wartime hospital.
A woman from Colchester has admitted pretending to have cancer and pocketing £10,000 donated for her treatment.