Rail services on the East Coast Main Line are being brought back under government control, following the failure of the current franchise.
Operators Stagecoach and Virgin Trains will hand over control from 24 June.
The Department for Transport will run the service until a new public-private partnership is appointed in 2020.
Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said it would smooth the transition to a new operator, but critics said it was evidence of private sector failure.
Mr Grayling said the franchise had failed because Stagecoach and Virgin Trains had "got their bid wrong", overestimating how much profit the line would make.
It is the third time in a just over a decade that the government has called a halt to the East Coast franchise. The RMT rail union is demanding Grayling makes the move permanent.
General Secretary Mick Cash said:
"This is the second time that the Government have called upon the public sector to launch a rescue operation on the East Coast Main Line and instead of being a temporary arrangement Chris Grayling should listen to his staff and the public and make it permanent.
"After three shambolic private sector failures on the East Coast the message should now sink in that these cowboys cannot be trusted and should be locked out of the system on a permanent basis.
"Anything else risks playing out the same expensive farce over and over again. RMT will now be seeking an urgent meeting with the new operator to bolt down guarantees for staff on jobs, conditions and pensions."