York Central MP, Rachael Maskell, will today (Thursday 21 June) welcome the Shadow Secretary of State for Transport, Andy McDonald MP, to York to show him round Network Rail’s Rail Operating Centre (ROC) in the run up to the renationalisation of the east coast main line. The two will be shown round the centre by Rob McIntosh, Route Managing Director, from Network Rail.
This Sunday, 24 June, the east coast main line service will be taken back into public control, a little over three years since Virgin Trains East Coast started running it. The new nationalised service will be rebranded as the London and North Eastern Railway (LNER). The renationalisation has been brought about because operators, Virgin and Stagecoach were unable to meet the required payments to the Government in the £3.3 billion contract.
The collapse of the east coast rail franchise marks the third time in a decade that a private train operator has failed to see out its contract on the line which was renationalised between 2009 and 2015. During the previous renationalisation the publicly owned company, East Coast, met its financial commitments to the Government, putting £1bn back into the Treasury, and also achieved record levels of public satisfaction.
The ROC is the largest rail operating centre in the country and controls the signalling operations on the east coast from London’s Kings Cross right up to the Scottish Borders. The centre will now take over the running of the trains for the new renationalised company. The centre in York is ideally placed with rail links right across the country.
Rachael Maskell MP says:
“It is a pleasure to invite the Shadow Transport Minister, Andy McDonald, to York to show him round the Rail Operating Centre. Labour has been clear that we will renationalise the whole rail network and make it work in the interests of the public. With the east coast main line back in public hands, I will hold the Government’s feet to the fire to ensure that passengers see improvements on the line, including infrastructure upgrades in the next spending round. Privatisation of the service has been a disaster with private companies creaming off the profits for shareholders but failing to deliver for passengers or meet their contractual obligations.
“York has always been a railway city and I want to show Andy McDonald how important it is to the rail industry. This centre is a huge asset to York and to our local economy. I would like to thank Rob McIntosh and everyone at Network Rail for inviting us to look round the centre. It is an incredible place with responsibility for 393 miles of track and 52 stations along the way. We now need to build on its success and bring more rail jobs to York. This can be achieved with a fully nationalised rail service on the east coast main line and also across the country.”