Former John Lewis boss Andy Street brought on board as an adviser for government's East Coast rail shake-up

Rebecca Smith
Andy Street was chief executive of John Lewis
Andy Street was chief executive of John Lewis (Source: Getty)

Former John Lewis boss and current mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street, is being brought on board to advise with the East Coast Main Line services being taken back under government control.

In a statement today, transport secretary Chris Grayling said he planned to use a period of Operator of Last Resort control to shape the new partnership, bringing back rail brand London North Eastern Railway (LNER) for the name.

A new board and an independent chair will be appointed with the formal handover taking place on 24 June. Grayling told MPs that Street had been called up to advise on the LNER.

Read more: Government strips Stagecoach of Virgin East Coast franchise

He said:

I want the LNER to have employees at its heart. So I am instructing the new board, working with my officials, to bring forward proposals which enable employees to share directly in the success of LNER both as a pure train operator and subsequently as the new partnership.

I am pleased to announce that Andy Street, the mayor of the West Midlands and the former chief executive of John Lewis, has agreed to provide informal advice to the team about how best to achieve this.

It is the third time in a decade that the government has called a halt to the East Coast franchise, with Grayling saying that after two months of investigation he had decided that taking the service back into control was the best option.

Grayling said Stagecoach and Virgin Trains had got their bid wrong on the joint venture and "are now paying a price", and will have lost nearly £200m meeting their contracted commitments.

Stagecoach boss Martin Griffiths meanwhile, said he was "surprised and disappointed" with the decision, but would work constructively in the coming weeks "to ensure a professional transfer to the new arrangements".

Read more: Grayling threatened with legal action over beleaguered East Coast franchise

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