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CITY VIEWS: SHOULD THE EAST COAST MAINLINE BE KEPT IN PUBLIC OR PRIVATE HANDS?

<strong>PHIL LONG </strong>ASPEN INSURANCE<br />&ldquo;Rail franchises are better off in public hands in the long run. The focus is on profit when private companies run them, and not on customer service. The private sector just cherry picks the best lines to suit them, and it&rsquo;s all too easy to dispose of them when they aren&rsquo;t profitable.&rdquo;<br /><br /><strong>TREVOR DOWD </strong>TRIDENT BUILDING CONSULTANCY<br />&ldquo;I&rsquo;d rather see the East Coast mainline in private hands. The daily commuter underpins the income of the train companies, but is hit first by delays. Fares are soaring above inflation levels. The whole service needs modernising. Having separate tracks and operators is a bizarre system.&rdquo;<br /><br /><strong>BOB EWART </strong>GERMAN BANK<br />&ldquo;Private hands is easier for continuity, but there are problems with the way franchises are run. As it stands, trains are cancelled and services are&nbsp; reduced as operators struggle to meet financial guidelines. The commuters suffer because of poor management.&rdquo;