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East Coast Rail Profits – Public Ownership Best for Customers


East Coast profits are “living proof”

publicly-owned railways are best for passengers

by 8th October 2013, 9.03 BST

East CoastThe UK’s only publicly-owned train operator has posted profits up 4.2% over the last year and has returned more than £208m to the taxpayer – an increase of 6.6%.

The operators of the 900-mile East Coast mainline network say turnover amounted to nearly £694m compared to £666 in 2011/2012.

Rail unions say the results are “living proof” that publicly owned rail services serve the best interests of passengers and the taxpayer.

The firm, Directly Operated Railways [DOR], was created by the Department of Transport in 2009 after National Express Group withdrew less than two years into the franchise.

It said the service had lost £20m in six months.

DOR now runs services linking London King’s Cross, the East Midlands, Yorkshire and Humberside, North East England and Scotland.

The company says its punctuality records are up, staff engagement among its 2,850 staff is higher than at ay time since rail privatisation in the mid-1990s and passenger satisfaction with services on the East Coast mainline is also at record levels.

Doug Sutherland, Chairman of Directly Operated Railways, said: “East Coast remains Britain’s busiest train operator, with average loads per train exceeding 225 customers, which is more than 36% ahead of the next busiest operator.

“DOR is continuing to invest in the East Coast business, and from November 2009 to date, some £48m has been re-invested directly in the business, on improving its assets, delivering the introduction of new and improved customer service benefits, and in people and training.”

Unions and public transport campaigners are challenging Coalition plans to hand the franchise over to a private operator by February 2015.

TSSA general secretary Manuel Cortes said: “Tory Ministers are deliberately turning a Nelsonian blind eye to the success of the only publicly operated rail franchise in the UK.

“It has returned more money to the Treasury in the past three years than any other firm and it is costing taxpayers the least.

“It is living proof that publicly-owned railways operate in the best interests of the passengers.

“It is purely for reasons of political dogma that the Tories want to sell it back to the private sector by 2015. They don’t want a successful public railway showing up the unsuccessful private franchises at the next election.”

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