East Coast Mainline Open For Bidders

The Government signalled the restart of the rail franchise process today - with no cancellations but many delays.

Rail unions reacted with dismay to the East Coast news, pointing out that the private sector had twice given up the franchise, with GNER pulling out some years ago. 

They also highlighted the fact that the taxpayer is likely to have to foot a bill as high as £50 million over the botched West Coast franchise. 

RMT general secretary Bob Crow said: ``Despite wasting hundreds of millions of pounds of taxpayers' money on the franchising circus, and instead of learning the lessons of the privatisation disasters on the East and West Coast main lines and across the rest of the network, the Government has this morning given the green light to a whole new wave of profiteering that will have the train companies laughing all the way to the bank."

It's likely the new holder of the line will have the franchise up and running by 2015.