National Express to lose rail route
Struggling transport group National Express is to be stripped of its East Anglia rail franchise three years early, the Government has said.
The decision from the Department for Transport (DfT) comes after the company's East Coast Main Line franchise came under public control earlier this month.
The East Anglia deal could have been extended until 2014 but Transport Secretary Lord Adonis told the firm that the franchise would end in March 2011.
Lord Adonis said that the termination of the East Coast franchise represented a "default" under the East Anglia franchise.
He added that the process for securing a new operator to run East Anglia would start immediately so a new franchise could begin from April 2011.
Earlier this week the Department for Transport announced a bidding timetable for National Express's other rail franchise - the London to Tilbury and Southend c2c line - which will change hands in May 2011.
The East Coast line is being run in the public sector for the next two years by a new company - East Coast.
Lord Adonis said: "My judgment is that the public interest would not be served by terminating the (East Anglia and c2c) franchises immediately, necessitating state management during the refranchising period and three operators in two years."
Lord Adonis added: "In determining the future of the c2c and East Anglia franchises, my overriding concern has been to minimise disruption to passengers and staff, and cost to the taxpayer, while ensuring that train companies stand by their commitments.
"I judge these objectives are best served by terminating the East Anglia franchise in 2011, causing them (National Express) to forego three years of profit, and beginning the refranchising process immediately so that a new operator is in place in early 2011."