Rail unions reacted with dismay to the East Coast news, pointing out that the private sector had twice given up the franchise, with GNER pulling out some years ago.
They also highlighted the fact that the taxpayer is likely to have to foot a bill as high as £50 million over the botched West Coast franchise.
Despite wasting hundreds of millions of pounds of taxpayers' money on the franchising circus, and instead of learning the lessons of the privatisation disasters on the East and West Coast main lines and across the rest of the network, the Government has this morning given the green light to a whole new wave of profiteering that will have the train companies laughing all the way to the bank.
The proposed reprivatisation of the East Coast, after the public sector rescued the service following two private failures, proves conclusively that the political class have learnt absolutely nothing when it comes to our railways.
This is a politically-inspired wrecking move designed to flog off this publicly-owned intercity route before the next election regardless of the consequences.
With this news coming just a day before the 50th anniversary of the Beeching Report that ripped Britain's railways to pieces, the ConDem administration is setting up yet another sell-off of state assets in a further act of grotesque rail vandalism.
The public need to know that, while fares are going up and safety is being compromised, the Government's priority remains the profits of the greedy train operating companies. No wonder 70% of the people now support RMT's call for full renationalisation.
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Dry but cloudy overnight.
Christmas Eve which could be rather frosty and Christmas Day looks like being generally cold and dry, but cloudier further east
Dry day with some good spells of sunshine