East Coast Rail privatisation

Plans to privatise East Coast Rail which connects Yorkshire to the North East and London have been put forward.

Near normal rail service running today

East Coast mainline train
East Coast mainline train Credit: East Coast

Train operator East Coast says its services to and from London King’s Cross, after yesterday's disruption caused by high winds and flooding, should be near normal today.

No trains were able to operate south of Peterborough for much of yesterday due the storms which swept across the south of the country. Engineers were due complete overnight repairs to overhead power lines in time for this morning's rush hour.

East Coast advised passengers whose journeys were not essential to defer travel until today - their tickets would remain valid

East Coast Operations Director Danny Williams said: “We appreciate the patience of our customers as Network Rail engineers have worked very hard in challenging conditions to get the line open again.

“There will be free Wi-Fi on all East Coast services for today and tomorrow. It’s a small way of saying thank you to customers for their understanding. We are very sorry for the disruption to East Coast journeys.”

East Coast is advising customers travelling tomorrow to check before setting out, on its website www.eastcoast.co.uk, by calling National Rail Enquiries on 08457 484950 or by following East Coast ‘@eastcoastuk’ on Twitter.

Fears East Coast privatisation could lead to "cattle class" travel

There are fears that a so called "cattle class" of travel could be introduced to the East Coast mainline which was officially put up for sale today.

One of the plans put forward is for three classes of travel which the unions claim would lead to standards falling.

Bidders though will be asked to come up with innovative timetables and firm plans for investment.

Calendar's political correspondent Paul Brand reports.

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MPs split over East Coast privatisation

The process of privatising the East Coast mainline has begun. Potential operators will bid to run the train service, but must demonstrate how they would support economic growth on the route.

Earlier this year there were protests in Doncaster, Leeds and Wakefield and 23,000 people signed a petition for it to remain in public hands.

MPs Mary Creagh and Stephen Hammond are divided on the issue.

East Coast Rail: Public sector never long term plan

East Coast Rail links Yorkshire to Newcastle and London Credit: Press Association

The rail line linking Yorkshire to London and the North East is to be privatised in plans laid out today, but this has always been in the Government's plans.

They said that running the line in the public sector had never been planned to be a permanent arrangement. Indeed Labour, although now cool on the idea, had intended to return East Coast to private ownership when it was in power prior to the 2010 general election.

Channel Tunnel high-speed train company Eurostar has said it wants to bid for the East Coast franchise in partnership with French company Keolis which already runs a number of UK domestic lines.

Third class to make a comeback?

Third class carriages could make a comeback with East Coast's privatisation Credit: ITV Yorkshire

Part of the privatisation of East Coast Rail could include the return of third class carriages.

Ministers want to give rail companies the same freedom as budget airlines, so it could be a way to cut down on prices.

In reality, how the system would work is not clear. It could be reservation-only standard class, or extra leg room in standard class.

What do you think? Would third class free up space on the trains?

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New East Coast Rail to have 'innovative timetables"

The government is looking for companies to run East Coast Rail Credit: Press Association

Passengers on the East Coast Main Line, which connectsYorkshire with the North East and London, have been promised "innovative timetables" and a better travelling experience when the line goes back into the private sector in plans laid down on Friday.

The new operators of the key line - which is currently being run in the public sector - will also have to demonstrate how they will support economic growth on the route.

The line has been run under the control of the Department for Transport (DfT) since National Express pulled out of the franchise in November 2009.

Labour and rail unions have bitterly opposed the re-privatisation of the line, pointing to the fact that East Coast has returned large amounts of money to the Treasury since it has been in the public sector.