The East Coast Main Line railway service, which operates up and down the country, is set to be privatised this weekend. This has ignited anger from the railway unions, and there are many gatherings organised for this weekend, from Doncaster to London to Edinburgh, to protest against the rail network being handed over to Virgin and Stagecoach.
Research shows that 70% of Britons want the railway network to be nationalised rather than privatised. Virgin and Stagecoach already operate all of the West Coast lines, from the south of England all the way up to Scotland, and there have been many disagreements when it comes to rail fares. Being private companies, the main goal for Virgin and Stagecoach would be to make a healthy profit, even if this comes at the expense of higher rail fares for consumers.
Once the East Coast Line has been privatised, Virgin and Stagecoach have plans to launch 23 new daily services from London, as well as provide more direct links between other cities around the country. They are also planning to introduce 65 state of the art Intercity Express trains to the service, which will allow for an additional 3100 seats during the morning rush hour services by 2020. The companies will be investing around £140 million into the service, and will also be able to pay around £3 billion back to taxpayers. The Department of Transport is strongly encouraging the public to see how private companies have turned Britain’s railway network into a success, and to support the privatisation of the East Coast Line.