East Coast

Rail disruption after accident on the line

Someone has been hit by a train between Durham and Newcastle.

All lines are blocked and it is currently not clear when they will reopen.

National Rail Enquiries said it anticipated trains would be disrupted until at least 19:30.

Trains aren't running between Darlington and Newcastle but some services are being diverted via Sunderland, not calling at stations via Durham.

Operators are trying to arrange buses between Darlington and Newcastle.

Trains may be delayed by up to 60 minutes or be cancelled altogether.

Rail bid by Virgin and Stagecoach was 'naive', say MPs

A "naive" bid by Stagecoach and Virgin to run the Intercity East Coast rail franchise led to its failure, according to MPs.

The Transport Select Committee said the two companies' assessment of the financial risk associated with their bid was wholly inadequate.

It also says the Department for Transport (DfT) must take the blame for not managing the bid effectively.

The rail franchise was taken back under government control in June.

Train
Getty Images

Grayling 'encouraged over-bidding' for East Coast franchise

Today Programme

BBC Radio 4

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling
Getty Images

Lilian Greenwood, the Labour MP who chairs the Transport Select Committee which produced a report into what went wrong with the East Coast Mainline franchise, says: "We're not just critical of Virgin/Stagecoach, we think the Department for Transport (DfT) also have to learn lessons from this.

"They allowed Virgin to put in this over-optimistic bid. They didn't challenge it. They had made assumptions about the timetable that turned out to be undeliverable."

"Astonishingly, they didn't get Network Rail - the infrastructure manager who determines timetables - to check that it actually was deliverable."

She adds: "Given that there had been two franchise failures on the line previously you would have expected the DfT to do proper due diligence and to do financial stress testing of this bid. In fact, this is what the Secretary of State [Chris Grayling] had told us had happened but we found in our inquiry that simply wasn't case - that they allowed, even encouraged, over-bidding."

Virgin-Stagecoach 'too optimistic' about East Coast revenues

Today Programme

BBC Radio 4

Intercity East Coast train
Getty Images

A report into the failure of the Intercity East Coast rail franchise says that the Department for Transport must take the blame for not managing the bid effectively.

Stagecoach and Virgin won the tender to take over the franchise in 2015 but it has handed back to the state in June.

Lilian Greenwood, the Labour MP who chairs the Transport Select Committee which produced the report, tells BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "They [Virgin/Stagecoach] simply were too optimistic about the passenger growth they were going to get and so they didn't get the revenues they needed to meet the very large franchise payments.

"By the time they'd used up £165m of their parent company guarantee they'd completely run out of money and that's why the franchise had to be brought to an end."

Some trains running after cows hit

One line on the East Coast Mainline has reopened after cows were earlier hit by a train.

Several animals were on the line at Shaftholme, Doncaster, at about midday.

Operators LNER has said disruption is likely to last until 15:00.

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East Coast line will not return to private ownership

Dave Wade

BBC News

The East Coast Main Line will not be returned to full private ownership as before, the Transport Secretary has confirmed.

lner
PA

Chris Grayling has told MPs on the transport committee that, after being taken back into public ownership three times - the line would be treated differently in future.

The line, now known as London North Eastern Railway (LNER), passes through Retford and Newark.

It was brought back under public control last month, following the failure of the Stagecoach and Virgin Trains franchise.