State-owned train operator pays out record premiums

State-owned operator, East Coast Trains, has turned in its best performance to date. Results for the year ended 31 March 2014 record a 6.9% increase in premium payments of £216.8m (2013: £202.8m) to the DfT. Turnover was up 3.8% to £720.0m (2013: £693.8m), and profit before tax shot up by 42.5% to £8.4m (2013: £5.9m).

Passenger journey numbers also increased to 19.9 million per year, up 4.9%.

East Coast Trains (ECT) is a subsidiary of DfT-owned Directly Operated Railways Ltd, and is one of the UK’s most profitable train operating companies. It took over from the failed National Express East Coast franchise in November 2009, and holds the contract until March 2015 (when it will be returned to the private sector).

Three groups – FirstGroup, Keolis/Eurostar and Stagecoach/Virgin – were shortlisted for the new franchise in January.

656/Sep 14

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