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Government steps in as National Express loses control of East Coast franchise

The government has today taken the East Coast rail line, run by National Express into public ownership.

Transport secretary Lord Adonis said National Express Group had said it would not provide further financial support necessary to ensure that their subsidiary, National Express East Coast, remains solvent.

“The government’s first and overriding obligation in this situation is to ensure continuity of service to passengers, with no disruption or diminution of service standards,” he said.

“I have therefore established a publicly owned company, which will take over this franchise from the point at which National Express East Coast ceases to operate.”

National Express will continue to operate services until an “orderly” transfer can be made to the new public company,” added Adonis.

Although National Express said it intends to continue to meet its obligations on its other rail services on the East Anglia main line and associated commuter routes, Adonis said the government is still considering terminating its other franchises.

The government’s plans to tender for a new East Coast franchise operator from the end of 2010. 

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