East Coast Rail returns to profit and repays government early

DIRECTLY Operated Railways (DOR) reported profit of £1.2m yesterday as a result of a three per cent increase in passenger numbers, but chief executive and chairman Elaine Holt warned more work was required before the operator was fit to be returned to private hands in 2012.

The company, created by the government in July last year, when it effectively re-nationalised the East Coast Mainline, said turnover in the nine months to 31 March amounted to £233.8m while operating expenditure stood at £232.3m for the period.

Holt said the company’s financial performance for the period had been strong and that it was “exceeding its targets.”

She added the company had been able to pay back more money to the government meaning the business was now self-funding.

More than £10.3m of new investment had been committed by DOR for the East Coast business including developments at several mainline stations, she added.

DOR said May 2011 would see the introduction of the biggest timetable change for the railway line in 20 years, which would make an extra 10,800 seats available each weekday and provide 20 additional services.