The East Coast main line is expected to be back in private hands in less than two years under rail franchise plans announced by the Government.
The line has been run under the control of the Department for Transport since November 2009 after transport company National Express pulled out.
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin has announced the start of a bidding competition for the East Coast franchise with an expected start of service by the new operator in February 2015.
He also published a detailed timetable for all rail franchise arrangements over the next eight years, following a major review after the West Coast bidding process had to be abandoned last year.
More top news
Technical problems with the French TV coverage of TDY Women’s race means it is not being shown on ITV4.
Sheridan Smith won a standing ovation as she returned to the West End stage after claims she was 'drunk' during a performance.
The first stage of this year’s Tour de Yorkshire saw four season’s worth of weather before a thrilling sprint finish in Settle.