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What commuters think to East Coast franchise going to Virgin trains consortium

Commuters have been giving their views to ITV News Central after a consortium involving Sir Richard Branson's train company Virgin Trains was chosen to run the East Coast main line franchise from next year.

More trains from Lincoln in new East Coast Franchise deal

The Department for Transport have said there will be more trains from Lincoln as part of the the new East Coast franchise to Inter City Railways, a consortium of Stagecoach and Virgin.

The new deal will include a host of extra benefits for passengers:

  • 23 new services from London to key destinations, with 75 more station calls a day;
  • plans for new direct links to Huddersfield, Sunderland, Middlesbrough, Dewsbury and Thornaby;
  • proposals for more trains to London from Bradford, Edinburgh, Harrogate, Leeds, Lincoln, Newcastle, Shipley, Stirling, and York;
  • 3,100 extra seats for the morning peak time by 2020;
  • across the entire train fleet there will be 12,200 additional seats – a 50% increase;
  • 65 state of the art Intercity Express trains brought into passenger service from 2018, totalling 500 new carriages;
  • journey times from London to Leeds reduced by 14 minutes, and from London to Edinburgh by 13 minutes; and
  • a £140 million investment package to improve trains and stations.


Virgin trains consortium chosen to run East Coast main line franchise

A consortium involving Sir Richard Branson's train company Virgin Trains has been chosen to run the East Coast main line franchise from next year.

Virgin Trains has been chosen to run the East Coast main line franchise Credit: Danny Lawson/PA Wire/Press Association Images

The Department for Transport (DfT) said the consortium involving Virgin and transport company Stagecoach, who already run the West Coast line, will start the East Coast franchise in March 2015.

There has been speculation that a consortium of Eurotunnel and French company Keolis which is 70% owned by French state railway SNCF, had been chosen as the new East Coast operator.

But Eurotunnel/Keolis have now missed out, as have the other shortlisted bidder, FirstGroup (correct) which has recently also lost its First Capital Connect and ScotRail franchises.

East Coast Mainline 'up for grabs'

It has had a turbulent few years, changing hands three times, but the East Coast Mainline rail franchise is now officially up for grabs again. The route is currently operated by the Government after two previous franchises failed.

Meanwhile, the Transport Secretary has also announced that Ilkeston in Derbyshire is in line to get a station again after more than four decades without. John Willats has this report.


Labour criticise East Coast privatisation plans

Labour’s Shadow Transport Secretary, Maria Eagle MP, has criticised the Conservative's plan to privatise the East Coast Main Line franchise when it's already 'on track'.

The line is currently operated by the Government, after two previous private franchise deals with GNER and National Express.

With the Government’s rail franchising programme in chaos, it is a bizarre and dogmatic decision to prioritise the privatisation of a service that is actually on track.

Since running services on a not for private profit basis, the East Coast operator has returned £640m to the taxpayer and invested more than £40m in improvements to the service.

It’s clear that the Government has learnt nothing from the franchising fiasco that could eventually see more than £100m of taxpayers’ money go down the drain as a result of ministerial incompetence.

– Maria Eagle MP, Shadow Transport Secretary

Ilkeston expected to get train station

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin today unveiled long-term plans designed to drive improvements to rail services and deliver on major infrastructure projects.

As part of his plan, The Transport Secretary has confirmed that three new stations are likely to be built across the UK. One of those is expected to be at Ilkeston in Derbyshire.

A final announcement is expected to be made by the Secretary of State for Transport in May.

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