PUBLICLY owned rail operator East Coast raised over £225 million in profits this year, new figures showed yesterday — laying bare the madness of the government’s push to reprivatise the franchise.
Run by state firm Directly Operated Railways since 2009, East Coast announced it would be be handing the Department for Transport (DfT) £216.8 million worth of premium and dividend payments.
But the success is set to be short-lived, with the government already planning to sell East Coast to an unnamed private bidder in March next year.
East Coast was taken into state hands in November 2009 after private operator National Express pulled out due to financial difficulties.
Transport union RMT acting general secretary Mick Cash accused the coalition government of “smashing up” a successful business.
“Reprivatisation of East Coast defies all economic logic and is nothing less than an act of industrial vandalism which will spark off a fresh wave of public anger over the racketeering on our railways,” he added.
General secretary Manuel Cortes of fellow rail union TSSA echoed the sentiment, saying: “This is all about Tory dogma rather than running a social railway for the benefit of the public.”
By the time East Coast is taken back into the private sector next year, the Treasury will have made an estimated £1 billion out of it being run publicly.
“These latest results from East Coast prove conclusively that a publicly-run railway benefits both the taxpayer and passengers,” said Mr Cortes.