It seems that the fiscal pressure of running the East Coast Mainline railway franchise has become too much for Virgin Trains East Coast, with the franchise handing in the keys, and the service reverting to public ownership.
The operator who will run it on behalf of the Government will be London North Eastern Railway (or as it was know in the past – LNER)
The new company operating the East Coast Franchise – LNER – http://www.lnerailway.co.uk/
Those who enjoy railways will remember the original LNER was formed when the “Big four” railway companies formed in 1921 – which were merged into British Railways in 1948.
This is the third time in the East Coast Main Line franchises history that an operator has failed, and has either had to run the franchisee as a management option, or be run by the government. The route connects London to Yorkshire, The East Coast.
The current operators – Virgin Trains East Coast – is a 10/90 partnership between the Virgin Group and Stagecoach, who cannot meet the payments due on the franchise. The original franchise was due to run until 2023. This was cut back to 2020, and finally a review was announced earlier on this year when Virgin Trains East Coast found it could not make payments.
They will hand in the franchise to the government on the 24th June, with LNER taking over the same day.
LNER will continue to honour tickets purchased for future travel (including season tickets). Passengers will continue to book their tickets the usual ways. Train services will be unaffected in the transition.
The Government has released a FAQ into the changes at https://www.gov.uk/government/news/lner-to-run-east-coast-mainline-services-from-london-to-yorkshire-the-north-east-and-scotland. LNER have also posted a FAQ at http://www.lnerailway.co.uk/customer-information.
For passengers – except no changes to start with other than rebranded trains. For the government and rail industry – it’s time to step back and work out what happened as a company over-bidded on a rail franchise – and lost money on it.
Welcome to Economy Class and Beyond – Your no-nonsense guide to network news, honest reviews, with in-depth coverage, unique research as well as the humour and madness as I only know how to deliver.