From The New Statesman.
The Conservative party will reportedly allow the transport group to re-enter the rail franchise market if it wins this year's election
National Express is likely to be allowed to bid for contracts in two years' time. This would be contrary to the Labour government's plan which has vowed to banish the group from the rail market after the £1.4bn East Coast debacle.
The bus-and-coach giant had to hand its East Coast rail service back to the government after huge losses. It was also ordered to give up its East Anglia rail franchises in March 2011. John Devaney, National Express' group chairman, has reportedly met with Conservative transport team members for discussions.
A Conservative Party spokesman said the East Coast debacle "certainly doesn't make it easy for National Express to make a rapid return to the franchise market at the next round. They will need to work hard to rebuild their credibility".
It is likely that National Express will have to sit out the next round of franchising, but would be allowed to bid for contracts in 2012 and 2013, he added.