- Stagecoach Group said it welcomed the planned new direction for the UK rail network announced today by the country's Secretary of State for Transport. The plan envisages a number of changes to franchises currently operated by Stagecoach, as well as other routes, as part of plans to deliver improved integration between train and track, the company said.

Planned new arrangements include the introduction from 2020 of the East Coast Partnership, a joint venture between the public and private sector.

The government is currently in discussion with Stagecoach-Virgin, which runs the existing East Coast franchise, with the aim of putting in place new contractual arrangements, Stagecoach said.

"We welcome the Secretary of State's clear statement of intent to seek to negotiate new terms for the East Coast franchise with Virgin Trains East Coast and we are hopeful of reaching an agreement through to 2020 within the next few months," chief executive Martin Griffiths said.

At 9:56am: [LON:SGC] Stagecoach Group PLC share price was +10.5p at 170.4p

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