A LABOUR council has urged the Government to abandon plans to re-privatise the East Coast Main Line.

Durham County Council today (Wednesday, January 8) passed a motion calling on the Coalition to keep the line in “public hands as a public sector comparator for other franchised rail networks and as a significant contributor to the public purse”.

Delves Lane member Bob Glass, who tabled the motion, said: “The Government isn’t just on the wrong track on this one – it’s heading full steam towards disaster.

“Since returning to public ownership the East Coast Main Line has paid more than £600m into the Treasury’s coffers and will have put more than £800m into the public purse by the end of the financial year and £1bn by the end of this Parliament – privatisation would be a new great train robbery.”

The London to Edinburgh line has been run by state-owned Directly Operated Railways (DOR) since private operator National Express failed to meet agreed payments in 2009.

The Government is offering the franchise to private bidders from February 2015, saying this would be the best move for passengers.