Transport Committee

Intercity East Coast rail franchise inquiry

Inquiry status: open

The deadline for submitting written evidence has passed. The Committee is no longer accepting written submissions.

Scope of the inquiry

The Committee’s inquiry examines the lessons to be learned from this and previous franchise failures on this part of the network; the best way forward in the short and longer term; and the wider implications for the rail franchising system.

The Committee is particularly interested to receive evidence addressing:

  • the reasons for the failure of the current franchise agreement, lessons learnt from previous failures of franchises on the East Coast Mainline and the steps the Department for Transport needs to take to guard against future failures;
  • the management of infrastructure works on the East Coast Mainline, including the relationships between the Department’s aspirations for the franchise, the operators’ obligations in the franchise agreement and planned Network Rail infrastructure works;
  • the Department’s contingency plans, particularly the steps it is taking to minimise risk to passengers and taxpayers; 
  • the readiness of the Department to act as an operator of last resort;  
  • the feasibility of the Department’s proposal to establish a public/private East Coast Partnership, to be operational by 2020; and
  • the wider implications for rail franchising of the failure of the East Coast franchise, including for the competitiveness of the system.
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