Live updates

  1. National

East Coast bids open after National Express pulled out

The East Coast rail line runs from London to Scotland's major cities, including Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Glasgow.

Empty train at King's Cross Station Credit: Press Association

Over three years ago the line had to be nationalised because operator National Express revealed it couldn't afford to pay the franchise. The company was commited to a £1.4 billion contract.

No formal bidders have yet been confirmed, but it could reignite competition between Virgin Trains and FirstGroup who went head-to-head to run the West Coast line.

  1. National

Passengers to help decide who runs rail services

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.

Franchising has been a force for good in the story of Britain's railways, transforming an industry that was in decline into one that today carries record numbers of passengers.

– Patrick McLoughlin, Transport Secretary

Advertisement

North East rail route set for privatisation

An East Coast mainline train passing through Church Fenton in North Yorkshire Credit: PA

The East Coast rail route will be put back into private ownership after a long period under state control, the government will confirm this week.

Patrick McLoughlin, the transport secretary, will unveil plains to seek tenders for the London to Edinburgh service after it was nationalised.

The decision to put one of Britain's most used rail routes back into private sector hands is expected to reignite the rivalry between Virgin Trains and FirstGroup, who competed for the west coast franchise last year.

  1. Calendar

"Bizarre decision" says MP over privatisation plans for East Coast main line

Plans to put the east cost rail route back into private ownership have been criticised by a Labour MP. The government is expected to confirm the proposals this week.

It is a bizarre and dogmatic decision to prioritise the privatisation of a service that is actually on track. Since running services on a not for private profit basis, the East Coast operator has returned £640 million to the taxpayer and invested more than £40 million in improvements to the service, achieving some of the best results since records began."

– Maria Eagle MP, Labour Shadow Transport Secretary
  1. National

East Coast rail route set for privatisation

East Coast Main Line train pulls out of Peterborough Train Station Credit: Chris Radburn/PA Archive/Press Association Images

The East Coast rail route will be put back into private ownership after a long period under state control, the government will confirm this week.

Patrick McLoughlin, the Transport Secretary, will unveil plains to seek tenders for the London to Edinburgh service over three years after it was nationalised.

The decision to put one of Britain's most used rail routes back into private sector hands is expected to reignite the rivalry between Virgin Trains and FirstGroup, who competed for the West Coast franchise last year.

Advertisement

Station upgrade will give city 'new lease of life'

The area around Newcastle's Central station will benefit greatly from the multi-million pound upgrade of the transport hub, according to the North East Chamber of Commerce.

The organisation, made up of businesses across the region, has backed the planned £8.6m makeover of the station.

Director of Policy Ross Smith said: “Newcastle Central Station is obviously a very important element of many people’s first impression of the city and the wider region.

“These exciting plans will help make sure that impression is a good one and should complement wider proposals for the Stephenson Quarter to give a new lease of life to that area of the city.”

Plans released of £8.6m station makeover

Artist's impression show what Newcastle's Central station will look like. Credit: East Coast Main Line.

Plans have been released of the multi-million pound makeover of Newcastle's central station.

Work is due to begin on the £8.6m project in May and expected to take a year.

The artist's impressions reveal how the main concourse will be transformed.

Load more updates