East Coast rail franchise could be scrapped this week

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The East Coast rail franchise, which runs through Newark and Grantham, could be scrapped this week, according to reports.

According to the FT, a statement is expected before Friday, May 19 from the Transport Secretary Chris Grayling announcing the closure of the line.

In February 2018, the transport secretary announced that the existing franchise, which is jointly owned by Stagecoach (90%) and Virgin Trains (10%), was ‘unsustainable’.

The transport secretary is now said to be preparing to either renationalise the London to Edinburgh line or negotiate a ‘not-for-profit’ arrangement with Stagecoach and Virgin Trains before Friday.

According to the Financial Times, Grayling is expected to announce a two-year deal, and then from 2020 a “public-private partnership model”.

This is the third time in 11 years that the government will have had to step in to save the London to Edinburgh line.