Directly Operated Railways

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Directly Operated Railways
Holding company
IndustryRail transport
SuccessorArup Group, Ernst & Young, SNC-Lavalin Rail & Transit partnership
ServicesTrain operating company management
OwnerDepartment for Transport
SubsidiariesEast Coast
Footnotes / references
Government holding company formed to run temporary rail franchises when private contractors have failed

Directly Operated Railways[1] was a holding company set up by the Department for Transport in the United Kingdom in July 2009 to run rail franchises should it become necessary to bring them into public ownership.[2] Its function was taken over by a partnership of Arup Group, Ernst & Young and SNC-Lavalin Rail & Transit in November 2015.

East Coast Main Line Company[edit]

Subsidiary East Coast Main Line Company[3] trading as East Coast, took over the running of services on the InterCity East Coast franchise from 13 November 2009 following the government assuming control of the franchise from National Express East Coast after it defaulted on its contract.[4] East Coast ceased operating on 28 February 2015 with the franchise passing to Virgin Trains East Coast the following day,[5][6] however on 16 May 2018 the government announced that rail services on the East Coast Main Line would be brought back under government control with an "operator of last resort" appointed to the London to Edinburgh service.

West Coast Main Line Company[edit]

In September 2012 with the potential that the Department for Transport would not be able to enter into a contract with its preferred bidder for the InterCity West Coast franchise (FirstGroup) as a result of Virgin Rail Group seeking a judicial review, it was suggested that subsidiary West Coast Main Line Company[7] would take over running of the franchise from December 2012 pending a resolution.[8]

In October 2012 the competition for the franchise was cancelled following the discovery of technical flaws in the franchise process. The Secretary of State for Transport announced that an investigation would be conducted, with the running of the West Coast line likely to be passed into the hands of West Coast Main Line Company to ensure that train services continued uninterrupted.[9][10] Directly Operated Railways confirmed that it had been asked in mid-September 2012 to prepare to mobilise for temporary transfer of the InterCity West Coast franchise in December. With the announcement the Department for Transport was opening negotiations with Virgin Rail Group about operating the franchise on a short-term basis, Directly Operated Railways stepped back from mobilising, but remained on standby.[11]


In November 2015, the Department for Transport appointed a partnership of Arup Group, Ernst & Young and SNC-Lavalin Rail & Transit to take over as the operator of last resort.[12][13][14]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Companies House extract company no 6950819 Directly Operated Railways Limited
  2. ^ Official website
  3. ^ Companies House extract company no 4659708 East Coast Main Line Limited
  4. ^ "East Coast rail change confirmed". BBC News Online. 5 November 2009. Retrieved 5 November 2009.
  5. ^ Stagecoach and Virgin win East Coast mainline rail franchise BBC News 27 November 2014
  6. ^ More seats, more services and new trains for East Coast passengers Department for Transport 27 November 2014
  7. ^ Companies House extract company no 4659516 West Coast Main Line Limited
  8. ^ "Government team in place to run West Coast Main Line". The Daily Telegraph. 18 September 2012.
  9. ^ West Coast Main Line franchise competition cancelled Department for Transport Press Release 3 October 2012
  10. ^ "West Coast main line rail contract halted in shock move". The Guardian. 3 October 2012.
  11. ^ Directly Operated Railways ICWC Comment 15 October 2012
  12. ^ Government accused of contracting out emergency train franchises to private firms The Independent 18 January 2016
  13. ^ Written Question response Claire Perry, House of Commons 28 January 2016
  14. ^ "Southern on borrowed time?" Rail Magazine issue 805 20 July 2016 page 71

External links[edit]