Nationalised rail company returns £208m to the taxpayer

Directly Operated Railways has returned £208.7m to the taxpayer after a huge increase in revenues. DOR, a holding company setup by the Department of Transport, took over the running of the London-Scotland route four years ago.

Turnover has increased 4.2 per cent to £693.8m, total ticket sales were also up by 4.2 per cent. It has also been revealed that chief executive of DOR, Michael Holden was paid a salary £224,000. The figures will add to the government's case to re-privatize the service.

Doug Sutherland, chairman of DOR, defended the groups handling of the line:

The business plan for the remainder of the franchise during 2013/14 and the first two months of 2015 will see the good work continuing, with the twin aims of ensuring a successful transfer of the business back to the private sector - in good condition, and maximising the value of the franchise achieved by the Government and the taxpayer.

The proposed re-privatization has been met strong opposition from union leaders and the Labour party.

Bob Crow, general secretary of the Rail Maritime and Transport union, said:

These figures destroy from top to bottom this Government's case for handing the East Coast back to the rip-off merchants from the private sector.

Eurostar is already bidding to operate the line jointly with French company Keolis. The result of the bid will be announced in February 2015.