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Emergency engineering work delays trains

Trains using the line between Doncaster and Retford could be delayed by up to 45 minutes due to emergency engineering work.

Trains affected include those from Leeds and Bradford to London Kings Cross.

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Labour MP calls for halt in franchise approval

Wakefield MP Mary Creagh has urged the government to put a halt to plans to sell the East Coast trains franchise, despite a consortium involving Stagecoach and Virgin being announced as the new owners.

Wakefield MP Mary Creagh has urged the government to put a halt to plans to sell the East Coast trains franchise Credit: Press Association

Ms. Creagh, who was Shadow Secretary of State for Transport until recently, said that the contract had not yet been signed and there was still time for the government to reverse the decision:

The taxpayer and Wakefield rail passengers have been sold down the river by the government. Publicly run East Coast will have returned over £1billion to the taxpayer and is one of the best train operating companies in the country.

The contract has not yet been signed and Labour is calling for the franchise process to be halted. It’s absurd that our own public operator is the only rail company in the world barred from challenging to run its own services.

Labour has challenged this ideological nonsense. We would legislate to allow a not-for-profit public sector operator to take on and challenge train operators on a level playing field.

– Mary Creagh, MP
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East Coast: the facts and figures

East Coast train Credit: East Coast

Here are some key facts and figures about East Coast main line rail company.

It has been announced that a consortium involving Virgin Trains and Stagecoach will run the East Coast main line franchise from next year.

  • Passenger journeys have increased by 1.1m in the past five years.
  • Journeys between Scotland and London have increased by 23%.
  • Customer satisfaction has increased from 89% in 2009 to 91% in 2014.
  • Revenue has increased from £581.3m in 2008-2009 to £652.6m to 2013-14.
  • East Coast invested £48m since 2009.
  • The taxpayer has received £1 billion back in premium payments and profits.
  • In partnership with Network Rail, redeveloped Newcastle station through an £8.6 million investment
  • East Coast - based in York - employs 2,800 people based at stations, depots and offices from London to Inverness.
  • East Coast’s Highland Chieftain service is Britain’s longest single continuous train journey operating daily between London and Inverness, a distance of 581 miles, and taking 8 hours and 6 minutes.
  • Since the spring of 2011, East Coast has been recognised by numerous industry organisations, and the Company has been the recipient of 55 such awards

Police investigate reports of 'distressed child' getting into van

Police are appealing for information after reports of a distressed child getting into a white van.

Police were told that that a boy aged around seven- to nine-years-old had got into a van in the car park of the Morrisons supermarket in Stuart Road, Pontefract. He was with a man at the time. The child appeared to be upset about getting into the van. The van was driven off in the direction of Pontefract Bus Station.

Officers say they there are no reports of missing children and have not ruled out the possibility that it was a boy with a parent or guardian following an argument. But they say reports must be treated seriously:

We have to treat reports like this seriously and I would urge anyone with information that could help, particularly the occupants of the van, to make contact as a matter of urgency so we know that everything is OK.

– Detective Inspector Steve Greenbank, of Wakefield CID

The man is described as white, aged in his 40s, with mousey hair. He was wearing a dark coloured tracksuit top and bottoms.

The child is described as around 4ft tall, had mousey hair and was wearing dark coloured clothes.

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Transport Secretary: Franchise to serve places which haven't been served before

The Transport Secretary says the new franchise which will take over the running of East Coast trains will bring services to places which have never had them.

Huddersfield, Harrogate, Lincoln and Dewsbury are among the places to be promised new or increased services.

Patrick McLoughlin says it is a good story for the East Coast:

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Shadow Transport Secretary: public 'sold down the river'

Virgin will be running the UK's two main London to Scotland rail routes in 2015. The Government announced today that a consortium involving Virgin Group and Stagecoach had been chosen to operate a new eight-year East Coast franchise.

Virgin and Stagecoach already operate the West Coast main line.

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said the new franchise was "a fantastic deal for passengers and for staff on this vital route" and would give passengers "more seats, more services and new trains".

But shadow transport secretary Michael Dugher disagrees. He says the travelling public had been "sold down the river".

"The taxpayer and the travelling public have been sold down the river. This whole franchise process shouldn't have happened.

"East Coast has ... established itself as one of the best train operating companies in the country. Rather than rigging the franchise timetable in order to sell it off before the election, David Cameron's Government should have been putting the public interest first and working to get a better deal for passengers."

"It's absurd that our own public operator is the only rail company in the world that has been barred from challenging to run its own services, on the ideological grounds that it is British and publicly owned."

– Shadow transport secretary Michael Dugher
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