Between the Lines
The curse of the East Coast franchise has struck a third time. The last two private sector franchises have both failed because of over-optimistic revenue forecasts. The second time, National Express handed back the keys in 2009, and this was followed by a prolonged period of public sector operation by Directly Operated Railways. The franchise was relet to Virgin Trains East Coast (VTEC) in 2014, branded as Virgin but 90% owned by Stagecoach.