Doncaster rail link set to go private

East Coast Trains
East Coast Trains

Doncaster’s main rail link is set to be put back into private hands, it has been announced.

The Government has published a series of procurement documents, marking the first step in that search for a new private sector partner to help revolutionise services on the East Coast Mainline.

The InterCity East Coast prospectus details what potential bidders will need to consider when they start developing their proposals next year.

These include developing innovative timetables which build on the core train service requirement published by the DfT; investment in innovative ways to transform the customer experience on trains and at stations;

identifying further opportunities for investment along the route, particularly at stations; making the route and train operations more sensitive to the environment; involving communities along the route in local decision making; and demonstrating how their proposals will support economic growth along the route.

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: “We want to see a revitalised East Coast railway, one that both rekindles the spirit of competition for customers on this great route to Scotland and competes with the West Coast on speed, quality and customer service.

“We need a strong partner to ensure we successfully deliver the £240m programme of infrastructure investments on the route and the improvements in rolling stock that the multi-billion Intercity Express Programme will provide.”

Unions want the line to stay in public ownership.

RMT General Secretary Bob Crow said: “It is simply outrageous that the Government are firing the starting gun this morning on the reprivatisation of the East Coast when every objective analysis shows that this is a successful and reliable service contributing a billion pounds back to the Government while the private operators are milking huge profits and soaking up vast taxpayer subsidies.”ncas