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Government makes East Coast privatisation move
8:34am Saturday 26th October 2013 in News
THE first official step in the privatisation of the York-headquartered East Coast Mainline has been made by Government.
Yesterday, the Department for Transport published a series of procurement documents for potential bidders looking to take over the publicly run rail service.
Last month channel tunnel rail operator Eurostar announced joint plans with French firm Keolis to submit a bid for the contract to run the London to Edinburgh line.
it is expected that once all bids have been received the contract will be awarded in October next year, with the franchise due to start in February 2015.
The move has attracted much controversy, especially after Directly Operated Railways, set up by Government to run the line in 2009, reported sales of £693.8 million earlier this month.
Campaigners believe the money should be kept in the public purse, while the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union believes the government is in a “mad dash” to push the move through before the next election.
York Central MP Hugh Bayley, has been campaigning for the move to be halted until it is proved that privatisation will deliver a better return to tax payers and passengers.
He said: “The Government is in the process of reprivatising the West Coast. They should be giving a period of time to compare the two against each other and see which produces the best results. I’m very much of the belief if it ain’t broke, don’t try and fix it. East Coast is giving the Government hundreds of millions of pounds.
“If the private sector companies can’t show they can provide significantly more for the tax payers than East Coast then they shouldn’t get the franchise.”
The East Coast line has been run by the public sector firm since National Express East Coast pulled out the franchise in 2009 after being faced with Government premiums of £766 million over three years.
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