Eurostar Bid for Doncaster rail line

A Class 373 Eurostar train as it heads towards London.
A Class 373 Eurostar train as it heads towards London.

Passengers could soon be taking the Eurostar from Doncaster – but it will not get them to France.

The Channel Tunnel high-speed train company is hoping to operate the East Coast mainline which services the borough, as part of a joint bid with French company Keolis.

The successful bidder for East Coast, which has been operated in the public sector since 2009, is expected to be announced in October 2014, with the new franchise starting in February 2015.

Eurostar would take a minority share in the Keolis-Eurostar consortium.

Eurostar chief executive Nicolas Petrovic said: “By joining forces with Keolis, we bring a unique blend of expertise and innovation with a fresh perspective.

“The East Coast franchise is a vital economic artery and a key route for both business and leisure passengers which represents an exciting opportunity for future growth and investment.”

East Coast has been run under the control of the Department for Transport since November 2009 after National Express pulled out.

Its return to the private sector has been opposed by Labour and rail unions who have pointed out that the company offers good value for money for taxpayers.

Keolis is majority owned by French rail company SNCF.