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That happened when Natioanl Express abandoned the National Express East Coast franchise and the Department for Transport established a new company to take over until the franchise could be retendered.

AFAIK, there was no legal requirement at that time to award a new franchise to a private operator, but the Fourth Railway Package does make competitive tendering obligatory from 2023 onwards. Governments can own train operating companies, but those companies can and will fail to win tenders.

by Gag Halfrunt on Sat May 13th, 2017 at 11:25:06 AM EST
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