State-owned rail firm reports £1.2m profit

The company tasked with running a key London to Scotland rail route on behalf of the Government today reported a profit and 3% boost in passenger numbers in its first year of state ownership.

Directly Operated Railways (DOR), which runs the East Coast line for the Department for Transport (DfT), said its turnaround of the business was under way but warned it was still fixing problems it inherited.

DOR, which was handed back to the DfT by previous franchise owner National Express, said that when it took the business on in November 2009 staff morale was low, investment had ceased and key engineering skills had been "allowed to evaporate".

DOR, which aims to hand the company back to private ownership by the end of 2012, posted a net profit of £1.2 million in the nine months to March 31. Turnover for the period was £233.8 million.