Join the legal action to make our East Coast mainline public again

by Bring Back British Rail

Join the legal action to make our East Coast mainline public again

by Bring Back British Rail
Bring Back British Rail
Since 2009, volunteer-run Bring Back British Rail has been campaigning for a re-unified national rail network run for people not profit.
18
days to go
£19,337
pledged of £30,000 stretch target by 907 people
Pledge now
Bring Back British Rail
Since 2009, volunteer-run Bring Back British Rail has been campaigning for a re-unified national rail network run for people not profit.
Pledge now

This case is raising funds for its stretch target. Your pledge will be collected within the next 24-48 hours (and it only takes two minutes to pledge!)

Over the last 9 years, Bring Back British Rail has grown to more than 100,000 supporters across the UK.

The privatisation of our railways has been a disaster. Not only do we now subsidise rail by 2-3 times more each year than we did as publicly-owned British Rail, but train fares have also risen 24% above inflation since the 1990s.

The East Coast franchise fiasco exemplifies the problems. The current Virgin Trains East Coast franchise has failed within 3 years. Yet the Secretary of State for Transport Chris Grayling is allowing its operators - Stagecoach and Virgin - to simply walk away, free to bid for rail franchises again. We want an investigation and we want action to stop this happening again.

We need your support to bring Chris Grayling to court. We can't do this without you. Please pledge and share today!


The East Coast campaign so far


Virgin Trains East Coast is the third private company (after GNER in 2007 and National Express in 2009), which has failed in running our East Coast mainline.

When National Express failed in 2009, the then Secretary of State for Transport Andrew Adonis set up the publicly-owned 'East Coast' to run this vital route from London to Scotland.

East Coast was a brilliant success: passenger and staff satisfaction peaked and over £1 billion profit was returned to the Treasury during its five-and-a-half years in operation.



Our legal case


Despite our campaign against re-privatisation, Virgin Trains East Coast - a consortium made up of Stagecoach (90%) and Virgin (10%) - was awarded the franchise in 2015. Stagecoach announced then that the franchise was “planned to run until 31 March 2023.”

However, on 5 February 2018, in a speech to Parliament, Chris Grayling confirmed that the Virgin Trains East Coast franchise had failed. He said that the consortium had “breached a key financial covenant” and that “Stagecoach [had] got its numbers wrong”. So wrong, in fact, that the franchise failed within 3 years of its start date.

Despite this breach of “a key financial covenant”, the Secretary of State has decided that Stagecoach may be permitted to run the East Coast franchise again. He has also included Stagecoach on a shortlist of bidders for the East Midlands franchise.

This franchise farce cannot be allowed to continue. In a letter to Chris Grayling, sent by our lawyers Leigh Day Solicitors, we have asked that he confirm:

  1. that he will revoke the Franchise Passports granted to Stagecoach and/or Virgin and/or suspend them pending a full investigation of what went wrong.

  2. whether the costs of terminating the franchise have in fact been met or could be expected to be met by the fulfilment of Stagecoach’s obligations.

To date, the Secretary of State has failed to answer the second question in full, despite the fact it is clearly crucial that everyone understands how much Stagecoach and Virgin will have cost us taxpayers.


How much are we raising and why?


We are raising £15k to pay for the initial costs of taking this action. But we also need to be sure we have enough money to cover a full legal challenge, so will then carry on to raise an additional £15k to cover all potential cost liability.

We need your support to bring Chris Grayling to court. We can't do this without you. Please pledge and share today!




Virgin Trains East Coast photograph: David Parry/PA

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