A railway company which was temporarily re-nationalised by the Government three years ago reported increased profits and an improvement in passenger satisfaction today.
Directly Operated Railways (DOR), which took over the running of the East Coast line from National Express, said its operating profit increased by 7% in the year to March to £7.1 million.
Turnover for the year amounted to £665.8 million, an increase of £20 million, leaving a profit before tax and service payments to the Department for Transport of £195.7 million, an increase of £13 million.
Passenger journeys at East Coast, which runs trains from London to Yorkshire, the North East and Scotland, increased by 2.1%, while customer satisfaction at East Coast rose by 2%, and the latest punctuality figures were its best since records began in 1999.
DOR chairman Doug Sutherland said: "During the year, we made further very good progress with the business turnaround of East Coast, and continued to invest in our infrastructure assets, our people, and the delivery of significant improvements in customer service.
"Our assets have been worked harder, and a solid financial performance has been achieved in a challenging economic environment.
"The major challenge in May 2011 was the introduction of a comprehensive timetable change across the entire East Coast network.
"Despite being the biggest change on the East Coast Main Line in 20 years - and 10 years in the making by the industry - the new timetable was introduced seamlessly by East Coast. I want to thank everyone who helped to make that possible."
DOR said it anticipated that the franchise will transfer to a new private operator around the end of 2013.
Bob Crow, leader of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union, said: "These figures show that a publicly-owned train operator can run services without robbing the taxpayer and without ripping off huge private profits and dividends.
"Every single penny made by DOR is reinvested in services and that is why they should be handed the West Coast route as an alternative to the current franchise madness and be allowed to carry on developing a publicly-owned railway on the East Coast."
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies