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"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.


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.


  1. Calendar

Rush hour rail delays continue

Thousands of rail travellers have faced lengthy delays today after a major fault on the East Coast main line. A kilometre of overhead wiring was brought down by an engine last night.

It left two hundred Yorkshire bound passengers stranded overnight at Kings Cross station and delays for passengers which will reach into tomorrow.

Lunchtime update: Rail delays on the East Coast line

Railway passengers travelling between the North East and London have faced delays and disruption because of problems on the East Coast mainline.

Many trains to and from Kings Cross have been cancelled, causing problems right along the route.

Watch the lunchtime report from Kenny Toal, who was at one of the stations affected, below.


There is disruption on East Coast rail line between Newcastle and Kings Cross, and between Leeds and Kings Cross, due to overhead line problems at St Neots.

Tickets are being accepted on the CrossCountry, East Midlands Trains, First Transpennine Express, and Virgin Trains services.

Replacement buses are operating between Peterborough and London, although a very limited number of trains can run via Cambridge.

Services are not expected to run via St Neots until later this afternoon, but with disruption for the rest of the day.

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