The government nationalised the East Coast franchise last November
Train drivers' union Aslef is planning to put in a bid to run a main railway line as a not-for-profit business.
The East Coast mainline which runs from London to Scotland via York was nationalised last year after being run by GNER and National Express.
The government is expected to invite tenders later this year and wants to re-let the franchise by summer 2011.
Aslef said it wanted to show how services could be improved without spending more money.
The union said it intended to draw up a manifesto to examine what passengers, employees, business and freight users wanted from a railway.
If successful, the set-up would be the first of its kind in the UK.