THE East Coast main line rail franchise, which serves the Yorkshire region, will come under public ownership on December 12.

National Express is handing back the business, which operates services from London’s Kings Cross to Edinburgh, after running up huge losses earlier in the year.

It is used by passengers from Huddersfield and the rest of West Yorkshire.

An internal Government briefing obtained by the Rail, Maritime and Transport union, reveals that ministers do not expect the franchise to be re-let to the private sector until mid-2011.

The date means the franchise will be run by the Government for at least 18 months, several months longer than originally expected.

The new publicly-owned company will take over services on December 12 and will be called East Coast Main Line, according to the presentation.

It will have a new name and upgraded uniform for staff, while National Express logos at stations and on trains will be removed or covered, union officials were told.

Rolling stock will be rebranded East Coast “as cost effectively and as soon as practicable”, according to the Government.