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.
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