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Rail franchise history of the East Coast Main Line

Following privatisation of the railways in the 1990's, GNER was originally awarded the East Coast franchise in April 1996, to run what had been the InterCity East Coast division of British Rail. The company was later granted a two-year extension allowing them to operate trains until 2005. When this franchise expired, GNER won a renewal until 2015.

However, in December 2006, the Department for Transport announced that it was to terminate GNER's franchise to operate the East Coast main line. The franchise contract was originally intended to last for 10 years, but the reconsideration was due in part to lower than expected revenue figures by GNER.

On 14 August 2007 it was announced that National Express Group had been awarded the franchise, operating under the name of National Express East Coast. GNER continued operating the line until the new franchise started on 9 December 2007. National Express Group announced on 1 July 2009 that it would not be able to financially support its East Coast franchise beyond the end of 2009.

This was initially for a period of up to two years, whilst the franchise is re-let again to another private sector-operator, although this time has now been extended until 2013.

East Coast Main Line Company Limited took over responsibility for the franchise on 13 November, 2009.