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National Express to lose East Anglia rail franchise three years early

PUBLISHED: 08:23 26 November 2009 | UPDATED: 15:24 06 July 2010

National Express will have its East Anglia rail franchise terminated three years early, the government said today.

National Express will have its East Anglia rail franchise terminated three years early, the government said today.

The Department for Transport said National Express would lose the franchise on March 31, 2011.

It could have been extended until 2014 had National Express not defaulted on another franchise - the East Coast Main Line - earlier this year.

National Express said the decision was "expected", but that it was "disappointed" by the announcement.

Transport Secretary Lord Adonis said the process for securing a new operator would start immediately so that a new franchise could begin in April 2011.

After National Express gave up its East Coast franchise, the government had said it was "unacceptable" for the company to go on running its other franchises - East Anglia and c2c.

While no decision has yet been made on c2c, Lord Adonis said its future was also under consideration.

“In determining the future of the c2c and NXEA franchises, my overriding concern has been to minimise disruption to passengers and staff, and cost to the taxpayer, while ensuring that train companies stand by their commitments,” he said.

“However, my judgment is that the public interest would not be served by terminating the franchises immediately, necessitating state management during the refranchising period and three operators in two years.”

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