Eurostar has launched a joint bid with French company Keolis to run the East Coast rail route from London to Scotland.
The winner of the bidding is due to be announced in October 2014, with the new franchise on track for a re-launch in February 2015.
East Coast has been operated in the public sector since 2009 after National Express pulled out. Its return to private hands has been opposed by Labour and rail unions.
Keolis jointly operates Southern, Southeastern, London Midland and TransPennine Express within the UK with the Go-Ahead Group.