NEWS RELEASE -
EAST COAST ANNOUNCEMENT
of Virgin Trains and Stagecoach as the winner of the franchise to run the
East Coast mainline rail service has been welcomed by Harrogate Chamber of
Trade and Commerce.
which has campaigned actively to get a two-hourly service to the capital,
said the winning bid will bring significant benefits to the North Yorkshire
for full statement
NEWS RELEASE -
new InterCity East Coast rail services
Potential operators of the new East
Coast franchise announced.
of bidders that will be invited to deliver proposals for improved services
for passengers on the Intercity East Coast rail franchise was announced by
the government on 17 January 2014.
that have successfully passed the 'Pre-qualification evaluation' stage and
can now start working on developing their plans for the franchise, before
they receive the governments 'Invitation to tender' are:
Trains Ltd (First Group plc)
East Coast Limited (Keolis (UK) Limited and Eurostar International Limited)
Railways Limited (Stagecoach Transport Holdings Limited and Virgin Holdings
operators will need to consider how they intend to use the latest high-tech
trains, built in the UK by Agility, to deliver more passengers to more of
the UK's biggest cities faster and in greater comfort.
is expecting to see how the future operators will capitalise on the
significant government investment along this route, including £240 million
in infrastructure projects over the next 5 years to improve capacity and
reduce journey times.
Stephen Hammond said:
"Giving passengers more will be at the heart of
the new East Coast franchise. That means new services and journeys that are
faster, more punctual and more comfortable. When these companies are
developing their proposals they should be looking at ways to innovate and
grow the service.
We have embarked on one of the biggest
programmes of rail investment ever, with over £35 billion being spent to
enhance and run our rail network over the next 5 years. But for our railways
to continue to grow we need strong private sector partners who can invest
and innovate in ways that deliver a world class service."
services were privatised in 1993, the close cooperation between government
and the train companies has heralded an unprecedented growth in the number
While the East
Coast franchise has been stabilised under government ownership since 2009,
the route now needs a long term private sector operator to plan for the
future and meet the increasing demands for more trains serving even more
When it started
the franchise competition in October 2013 the government published the
InterCity East Coast prospectus which set out the areas prospective bidders
will need to consider when they start developing their proposals. These
innovative timetables which build on the core train service requirement
published by the Department for Transport (DfT)
innovative ways to transform the customer experience on trains and at
further opportunities for investment along the route, particularly at
route and train operations more considerate of the environment
communities along the route in local decision making
how their proposals will support economic growth along the route
To pass the
rigorous Pre-qualification evaluation, each of the bidders were asked to
demonstrate that they have the financial strength, legal, operational and
safety experience to run the franchise.
The DfT is
planning to issue 'invitation to tender' at the end of February and the
potential operators will then have at least 3 months to develop their bids,
before the new services start in February 2015.
East Coast is
one of the two main London to Scotland railways providing frequent services.
It is an electrified 393 miles (632 kilometres) railway link between London,
Peterborough, Doncaster, Leeds, York, Newcastle and Edinburgh.
It is one of
the fastest conventional lines in the UK with most of the line being cleared
for 125 miles per hour (200 kilometres per hour) operation. Non-electrified
line extends further north into Scotland from Edinburgh to Inverness and
Aberdeen. The services meet demand for business travel, particularly between
Edinburgh, Newcastle, York, Leeds and London, leisure travel to a variety of
destinations and commuter journeys, primarily between Newark, Grantham,
Peterborough and London.