However, this week Transport Secretary Chris Grayling informed the House of Commons that the situation is much more ‘urgent’ and new arrangements must be made as soon as possible.

In his speech, Grayling added that the current franchise will be able to continue for a ‘very small number of months’.

The operator has returned nearly £1bn to the government since 2015 as a result of the situation, while Stagecoach has incurred a total cost of almost £200m, representing around 20% of its entire market value.

Grayling added: “The problem is that Stagecoach got its numbers wrong. It overbid and is now paying a price.”

He also assured that daily operations will not be affected by the ongoing difficulties.

The secretary has suggested two options to tackle the situation.

The first approach would see the current operator continue to operate the franchise on a not-for-profit basis until it is awarded to a new company in 2020.

Alternatively, the government could step in and the East Coast Mainline would be run by the DfT via an operator.