Page last updated at 12:48 GMT, Tuesday, 14 July 2009 13:48 UK

MP calls for rail line HQ to stay

A National Express-operated East Coast line train
Hundreds of rail jobs in York are linked to the East Coast Main Line HQ

The government has been urged to guarantee that the headquarters of the East Coast Main Line will stay in York when the rail franchise is taken over.

Earlier this month Transport Secretary Lord Adonis announced that the rail service, run by National Express, was being taken into state ownership.

Hugh Bayley, the Labour MP for York, said in a Commons debate earlier it was vital the HQ stayed in the city.

He also urged the government not to rush into re-franchising the service.

Mr Bayley said: "I would urge the government to use a period of public ownership to rebuild business confidence in the service, to restore staff morale and to create a better business model for how the service is run.

"For the sake of stability and to safeguard hundreds of jobs in my constituency I hope that government will consider, if they do re-franchise this service, requiring the headquarters to remain in York."

The troubled National Express rail franchise is expected to have lost £20m in the first half of this year after seeing passenger numbers fall.

Lord Adonis announced on 1 July that he was taking the service into public ownership after refusing National Express's requests for its contract to be renegotiated.

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