Commenting on the Government’s confirmation that a new franchise will be in place on the East Coast Main Line in November 2011 , Michael Roberts, the Chief Executive of the Association of Train Operating Companies, said:
“It is good news that the Government has confirmed the date that the East Coast line will move back to private ownership. Franchising has been key to delivering record levels of investment, punctuality and customer satisfaction on the railways.
“The relet of the East Coast franchise would be the perfect opportunity for targeted reform that would give greater long term stability to the system and encourage train operators to invest more in better services for passengers. Smarter franchises would improve services for passengers, give taxpayers a better deal and speed up improvements to rolling stock and stations.
“Those who hanker for the return of nationalised railways are living in the past. There was no golden age under British Rail. We should be focusing on releasing the full potential of private sector train operators by building on the success of privatisation and reforming the franchise system.”