LNER contract could be extended
THE state-owned East Coast franchise LNER could be set to continue until the middle of the next decade, although it had been intended to last only two years. LNER replaced the failed Virgin Trains East Coast franchise in June last year, and was expected to be replaced by a new East Coast Partnership involving the private sector in June 2020. But with the franchising programme in increasing disarray and almost certain to be radically altered in the forthcoming Williams Rail Review, the DfT is understood to have made filings with the EU which would allow an extension up to 2025. The DfT said extending LNER is ‘only one option’ and that no decision has yet been taken.