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‘Good progress’ on East Coast – DOR

Financial results for East Coast have been published, with £208.7m returned to the taxpayer over the last year. 

Directly Operated Railways (DOR), the public company operating the franchise, increased returns by 6.6% during 2012/13. Turnover to 31 March 2013 was £693.8m. Accidents to East Coast employees were reduced by 20% and the year saw the highest ever score from the East Coast Employee Survey at 71%. 

DOR has managed to reduce cancellations and delays caused by train defects, but significant infrastructure failures have led to poor performance. Over 80% of all delays are a direct result of external factors, however, and DOR said it is working with Network Rail to tackle these causes. 

The Government intends to transfer the East Coast franchise to a new private operator in February 2015. 

Doug Sutherland, chairman of Directly Operated Railways, said: “During the year, we continued to make further good progress with the business turnaround of East Coast, and we were able to achieve the best train punctuality on line since records began in the summer of 2012, the best customer satisfaction result in the Passenger Focus autumn 2012 National Passenger Survey since rail privatisation in 1993, and the highest level of employee engagement of any previous franchisee on the East Coast Main Line. 

“East Coast remains Britain’s busiest train operator, with average loads per train exceeding 225 customers, which is more than 36% ahead of the next busiest operator. 

“DOR is continuing to invest in the East Coast business, and from November 2009 to date, some £48m has been re-invested directly in the business, on improving its assets, delivering the introduction of new and improved customer service benefits, and in people and training. 

“In September 2012, DOR was also asked by the Department to undertake contingency planning relating to potential transfers of franchises under Section 30 of the Railways Act 1993 – and these activities have become a significant part of the workload for the core team at DOR. This work is continuing and a programme has been developed to support the DfT’s Direct Award timetable. 

“The business plan for the remainder of the franchise during 2013/14 and the first two months of 2015 will see the good work continuing, with the twin aims of ensuring a successful transfer of the business back to the private sector – in good condition, and maximising the value of the franchise achieved by the Government and the taxpayer.” 

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Bill Whitmore   12/10/2013 at 09:05

So why transfer the franchise to the private sector? Allow the men and women of DOR to enjoy the kudos and fruits of their labour... Is profit for shareholders the real driver under this here wonderful government ??? Let's keep some competition - even if it is from the 'inadequate' public sector.

Mike Thompson   14/10/2013 at 17:11

Cannot understand the reason for killing the goose that appears to have laid a golden egg for the DOR and in particular the Chancellor's coffers. Based on DOR's success maybe they should be involved in the appointment of any future franchisee. Good luck to DOR in their remaining 18 months of tenure.

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