THE company which has taken over the running of the East Coast main line is being urged to stage fresh talks about the future of York’s rail headquarters.

Government-run organisation East Coast is now in charge of the London-Edinburgh link, which runs through York, after National Express East Coast lost the franchise due to its inability to pay the £1.4 billion cost of running it.

But the changes have not ended the uncertainty surrounding the future of hundreds of jobs at the city’s rail HQ when the franchise reverts to private ownership – which is set to happen in two years’ time, with interested parties expected to be invited to bid next autumn.

Now City of York Council leader Andrew Waller is pushing for an “urgent” meeting with East Coast bosses in an attempt to gain reassurance about York’s rail status.

“The rail headquarters function is a key economic driver for the city – it is a railway town and its close association with London is one of its main selling-points, so we have a good case,” he said.

“Unfortunately, we are currently at a stage where ministers cannot guarantee anything, but as there is a rail HQ in York, I feel a meeting with the new operators about how we can retain this function and jobs in the city is not out of the question.

“When you are talking about these people’s jobs, to be in a position where this franchise has collapsed twice due to the financial burden is worrying, so I have asked to meet with East Coast urgently.”