- 18 updates
Consortium to buy East Coast trains announced
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.
The Department for Transport 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 .
New East Coast mainline franchise confirmed
The Department for Transport today confirmed it has officially signed the East Coast rail franchise contract with Inter City Railways, a venture between Stagecoach and Virgin.
The eight-year deal will give passengers between London and Edinburgh more seats, more services and new trains from March next year.
Under the franchise agreement, Inter City Railways will provide passengers a host of benefits, including:
- new services from London to key destinations, with 75 more station calls a day.
- plans for new direct links to Huddersfield and Dewsbury
- proposals for more trains to London from Bradford, Harrogate, Leeds, Lincoln, Shipley and York
- 3,100 extra seats for the morning peak time into and out of King’s Cross by 2020
- 12,200 additional seats – a 50% increase - across the entire train fleet;65 state-of-the-art Intercity Express trains brought into service from 2018, totalling 500 new carriages
- reduction of journey times from London to Leeds by 14 minutes
- a £140 million investment package to improve trains and stations.
Inter City Railways will pay the government around £3.3 billion to operate the franchise.The company will now begin talks with Network Rail and the Office of Rail Regulation to agree its plans to run new direct services from London to a number of towns including Huddersfield.
It will also seek approval to run more trains to Leeds, Lincoln, Shipley, Harrogate and Bradford.
From 2018, Inter City Railways will take delivery of the new Intercity Express trains, to be assembled at Hitachi’s factory in Newton Aycliffe, County Durham.
By 2020 all of the 65 modern high-speed electric trains will be in service and will replace 39 existing trains. In addition to more seats, passengers will benefit from cleaner, more reliable trains and faster journeys.
- ITV Report
Consortium on track to take over East Coast
East Coast: the facts and figures
Here are some key facts and figures about East Coast main line rail company.
It has been announced that a consortium involving Virgin Trains and Stagecoach will run the East Coast main line franchise from next year.
- Passenger journeys have increased by 1.1m in the past five years.
- Journeys between Scotland and London have increased by 23%.
- Customer satisfaction has increased from 89% in 2009 to 91% in 2014.
- Revenue has increased from £581.3m in 2008-2009 to £652.6m to 2013-14.
- East Coast invested £48m since 2009.
- The taxpayer has received £1 billion back in premium payments and profits.
- In partnership with Network Rail, redeveloped Newcastle station through an £8.6 million investment
- East Coast - based in York - employs 2,800 people based at stations, depots and offices from London to Inverness.
- East Coast’s Highland Chieftain service is Britain’s longest single continuous train journey operating daily between London and Inverness, a distance of 581 miles, and taking 8 hours and 6 minutes.
- Since the spring of 2011, East Coast has been recognised by numerous industry organisations, and the Company has been the recipient of 55 such awards
New carpets, new seat covers, faster trains - Virgin Group outlines benefits
The Director of Corporate Affairs for the Virgin Group Richard Scott has outlined the benefits which will come from the new east coast train franchise.
He says it will mean faster journeys in refurbished trains. And you'll be abe to order food from your seat with a new phone app, he says.
For Richard Scott's full comments click below.
We've heard these promises before - RMT
The transport union the RMT has criticised the re-privatisation of the East Coast mainline. North of England representative Craig Johnston said they had heard similar promises before from franchise holders which had not been fulfilled.
For Craig Johnston's full comments click below.
Hull MP says city has been 'left out again'
Hull MP Diana Johnson claims the city has been "left out" of plans to improve the east coast rail network.
Today it was announced the routes would be privatised with a consortium involving Virgin and Stagecoach taking over from March 2015.
MPs call for more Lincolnshire rail services
Two Lincolnshire MPs have welcomed news that the new franchise running East Coast trains will increase services, but say it could go further.
Gainsborough MP Edward Leigh and Brigg and Goole MP Andrew Percy say new services should include routes to Grimsby:
Labour MP calls for halt in franchise approval
Wakefield MP Mary Creagh has urged the government to put a halt to plans to sell the East Coast trains franchise, despite a consortium involving Stagecoach and Virgin being announced as the new owners.
Ms. Creagh, who was Shadow Secretary of State for Transport until recently, said that the contract had not yet been signed and there was still time for the government to reverse the decision:
Transport Secretary: Franchise to serve places which haven't been served before
The Transport Secretary says the new franchise which will take over the running of East Coast trains will bring services to places which have never had them.
Huddersfield, Harrogate, Lincoln and Dewsbury are among the places to be promised new or increased services.
Patrick McLoughlin says it is a good story for the East Coast:
Unite calls East Coast decision a 'betrayal'
Len McCluskey, the Unite general secretary, has branded the East Coast decision a 'betrayal'.
A consortium involving Virgin Trains and Stagecoach will run the East Coast main line franchise from next year. The decision marks the return to the private sector for East Coast, which has been run by the Department for Transport since 2009.
Latest ITV News reports
Consortium on track to take over East Coast
A company owned by Virgin and Stagecoach will operate trains on the East Coast line from next March - but what does it mean for customers?