In November 2017, Transport Minister Chris Grayling announced the early shutdown of the East Coast franchise in 2020, three years earlier than planned, after losses on the line by the operator. Virgin Trains East Coast was expected to pay more than $2 billion in franchise premiums to the government in the final four years of its contract.   However, in January 2009, the Department considered that the franchise was at high risk of failure. It refused to renegotiate the terms of the contract and the contract was subsequently terminated. The NAO report concluded that termination was the best way to protect the taxpayer. If other franchises, considered high risk, had attempted to renegotiate their contracts, the department might have had to support them at an estimated cost of between $200 million and $450 million. “By cancelling the East Coast passenger rail franchise, the Department of Transport has acted decisively to protect the public interest and has secured value for money by avoiding the significant risk that other holding companies will seek negotiations with their loss-making franchises.” Franchise agreement and related documents for InterCity Railways Limited and East Coast Main Line Company Limited. The franchise was renationalized on November 14, 2009 with the acquisition of directly Operated Railways` East Coast subsidiary, with the intention of returning the operation to a private franchisee by December 2013.  In March 2013, the Minister of Transport announced that he would increase it to February 2015.
 The DfT then announced that it would renationalize the franchise. In March 2000, the Shadow Strategic Rail Authority (SRA) Sea Containers and Virgin Rail Group chose to run for the next franchise.  The franchise was to last 20 years and included proposals for new trains and replacement of sections of tracks.   In January 2002, the SRA scrapped the refranchising process and granted a two-year extension of Sea Containers until April 2005.   At the beginning of the franchise, the franchise inherited a fleet of InterCity 125 and InterCity 225 trains. These were renovated in the mid-2000s with new interior spaces, the first of which retired in December 2019, the latter of which were due to retire in 2020. All are replaced by the 800/801 series.  In February 2020, it was announced that LNER was maintaining a number of 91 and 4 series to enable it to meet the December 2021 schedule requirements. [Citation required] These documents are part of the public register of franchise agreements. On the other hand, one insider noted that “you can book an EasyJet flight [from London] to Scotland in August, without any problems.