Following the Secretary of State’s announcement that the East Coast Main Line is to be brought back under public control after Virgin Trains and Stagecoach could not meet the necessary payments, Caroline Flint has demanded that the firms who failed to meet their contract should be barred from bidding for the new franchise in future.
The MP asked Transport Secretary Chris Grayling whether there should be consequences for the companies involved after they clearly undercut competitors to win the East Coast Main Line franchise in 2015.
When challenged, Mr Grayling refused to rule out handing over a future contract to Virgin and Stagecoach.
Said Caroline: “There is no way that Virgin Trains or Stagecoach, the partners in this failure, should be allowed to make the same mistakes again. They won a bid at the expense of their rivals to win a contract they could not fulfil. This was not “one mistake” as the Secretary of State said, this was a catastrophic failure.
“I travel this line every week and both at the station, and on the trains, the staff have always been more than friendly and helpful, regardless of their employer.
“I will continue to fight for the best service for Doncaster’s hardworking commuters and rail passengers, and will keep a very close eye on developments as they unfold.”
Stagecoach and Virgin Trains took over the franchise in 2015. Three years into an eight year franchise, they have handed the franchise back to the Government. This is the third occasion firms have failed to fulfil their contract in twelve years.
In 2005, GNER signed a £1.35bn, 10-year deal in what was then the biggest contract in European railway history. One year later it was stripped of the route. In August 2007, National Express agreed a £1.4bn deal, but then handed it back to the government in 2009. ECML was then government-run until Stagecoach and Virgin's £3.3bn bid in 2015.
Click here to see Caroline asking the question in Parliament.