East Coast (train operating company)
|Franchise(s):||InterCity East Coast
14 November 20091 – February 20152
|Main region(s):||East Midlands, Yorkshire,
North East England, Central Scotland, Northern Scotland
|Fleet size:||InterCity 125 (HST) sets|
|Stations called at:||53|
|National Rail abbreviation:||GR|
|Parent company:||Directly Operated Railways|
East Coast is a British train operating company running high-speed passenger services on the East Coast Main Line between London, Yorkshire, the North East and Scotland. It started operations on 14 November 2009.1
East Coast is a trading name of East Coast Main Line Company Ltd (ECMLCo), a subsidiary of Directly Operated Railways Limited, formed by the Department for Transport as an operator of last resort when National Express refused further financial support to its National Express East Coast (NXEC) subsidiary and consequently lost its franchise.
The government temporarily re-nationalised the franchise in late 2009 and transferred NXEC's assets to Directly Operated Railways, allowing services to continue until the franchise could be re-let. The original intention was to return operations to a private franchisee by December 2013,3 however in March 2013 the Secretary of State for Transport announced that it would in fact now be returning to a private franchisee by February 2015,4 this could be as a result of questions arrising over the franchising system following the 2012 West Coast franchise cancellation.
East Coast operates long-distance passenger services principally from London King's Cross to Edinburgh Waverley via Newcastle, and from King's Cross to Leeds, with other services reaching into Yorkshire and Northern and Central Scotland.
An hourly service runs between King's Cross and Newark, calling at all intermediate stations. This is extended to York every two hours, serving Retford and Doncaster. These services operate only on weekdays.
The service between King's Cross and Leeds is half-hourly, with one train per hour serving Peterborough, Doncaster, Wakefield Westgate and Leeds, while the other serves Stevenage, Grantham, Doncaster, Wakefield Westgate and Leeds. At weekends, they call at Stevenage every two hours while Peterborough, Grantham, Newark, Doncaster and Wakefield are served hourly.
A half-hourly service between King's Cross and Newcastle operates for most of the day, departing from London on the hour and the half-hour. The top-of-the-hour trains to Scotland run as limited-stop expresses between London and Newcastle (as seen below). The half-hour train calls at Peterborough, Newark, Doncaster, York, Northallerton, Darlington, Durham and Newcastle. This train is extended to Edinburgh every two hours throughout the day and calls at Alnmouth. At weekends, especially during the daytime, all Newcastle services continue to Edinburgh, with some going non-stop.
There is an hourly service from London to Edinburgh, calling at York, Darlington, Newcastle, Berwick-upon-Tweed and Edinburgh. Some of these trains also call at Peterborough. Occasionally there is a half-hourly service to Edinburgh with some Newcastle trains extended at peak hours. From 22 May 2011 a new early-morning service runs southbound, departing Edinburgh at 05:40, calling only at Newcastle at 07:03 and arriving at London at 09:40, called the Flying Scotsman. It is operated using an Intercity 225 set with 91101 with Flying Scotsman branding. At weekends during the day, services to London from Edinburgh run every 30 minutes.
There is now only one direct through train per day in each direction between King's Cross and Glasgow Central as an extension of the hourly London-to-Edinburgh service. A faster and much more frequent service to Glasgow operates from London Euston via the West Coast Main Line. There is no East Coast service to Glasgow on Saturdays, and no East Coast service to London from Glasgow on Sundays.
There are three trains per day each way between Aberdeen and King's Cross, departing at 10:00 (The Northern Lights), 14:00 and 16:00, the journey time being just over seven hours. There is also one service per day in each direction between Aberdeen and Leeds. These services are operated by HST sets, as the Edinburgh to Aberdeen line and York to Leeds section via Garforth are not electrified. This route makes use of the historic Forth and Tay bridges. These trains are extensions to the hourly London-to-Edinburgh service.
A daily service operates between Inverness and King's Cross, departing at 12:00, called the Highland Chieftain. The journey takes just over eight hours and is operated with diesel HST sets, as the line between Edinburgh and Inverness is not electrified. As with the Aberdeen services, this is an extension of the London-to-Edinburgh service.
The Hull Executive runs between Hull and King's Cross, with one train per day each way. This service also uses HSTs as the Hull line is not electrified. Much more frequent services between Hull and London are operated by First Hull Trains.
From May 2011 there is now a direct train from London to Lincoln Central, with one service per day in each direction as an extension of the London-to-Newark service.
As with the Bradford train, this is an extension of the Leeds–London service. Though the line to Skipton is electrified throughout, the East Coast service to/from the town was operated using a diesel HST because the electrical infrastructure on the Leeds to Skipton line was insufficient to support a Class 91 locomotive in addition to the class 333 EMUs (Electric Multiple Units) that operate the local services from Leeds to Skipton.
However, tests took place on 16 January 2011 for the operation of a Class 91 and Mark 4s on this service.citation needed From the timetable starting 22 May 2011, the evening return train from Kings Cross is worked by a Class 91 and Mark 4 set (Monday - Fridays only).5
The Saturday run of the outward service is the only East Coast service out of Leeds not to call at Wakefield Westgate: from Leeds, this service takes the route via Micklefield and Hambleton Junctions on to the ECML to Doncaster.
On a Sunday only a Northbound service runs.
There is a Monday-Saturday morning HST departure from Harrogate to King's Cross also calling at Horsforth (Monday to Fridays only). There is now a return service from London Kings Cross to Harrogate leaving at 17:33.
East Coast inherited the rolling stock operated by NXEC, comprising Class 43 diesel sets with their Mark 3 coaching stock (InterCity 125), and Class 91 electric locomotives and Mark 4 coaches (InterCity 225).
The original franchise holder, GNER, undertook a major refurbishment of its rolling stock from 2003, which it titled "Project Mallard". Between 2003 and 2006, every Mark 4 coach in its fleet was upgraded and refurbished, while work started on refurbishing the Mark 3 coaches under GNER in early 2007. This work continued under NXEC, with the final InterCity 125 set completed in October 2009.6
Until October 2010, East Coast offered free Wi-Fi to passengers in both first and standard class. From 5 October 2010, a charge of £4.99 per hour or £9.99 for 24 hours was introduced for Standard Class passengers, with a 15-minute free allowance.7
As part of an overhaul of the Mark 4 coaches, the coaches and DVTs are being repainted from the current mix of GNER/NXEC interim livery, to a new silver livery dubbed 'Silver link'. The repaint was started in June 2010 with the first full set (excluding loco) being released on 30 July 2010. The idea is that a plain base livery can be easily customised for any future operator of the franchise.8
|Trainset||Class||Image||Type||Top speed||Number||Routes operated|
|InterCity 125||Class 43||Diesel locomotive||125||200||32||London Kings Cross-Newark North Gate, Lincoln, Leeds, Harrogate, Skipton, Hull, York, Newcastle, Edinburgh, Aberdeen & Inverness|
|Mark 3 coach||Passenger carriage||125||200||117|
|InterCity 225||Class 91||Electric locomotive||140||225||31||London Kings Cross-Leeds, Bradford Forster Square, Skipton, York, Newcastle, Edinburgh & Glasgow Central|
|Mark 4 coach||Passenger carriage||140||225||302|
|Driving Van Trailer||140||225||31|
The holder of the new East Coast franchise will participate in the Intercity Express Programme along with First Great Western. The project will replace the Intercity 125 fleet with new Hitachi high-speed trains, and provide additional electric trains. By December 2018 the new trains are planned to be running on the East Coast main line in 9-carriage or 5-carriage sets.9 The programme also contains an option for 30 further units that would replace the Intercity 225 trains used by East Coast.10
Originally East Coast were to receive five Class 180 Adelante DMUs. Due to a reduction in the number of extra services, and with Directly Operated Railways stating its unhappiness with the Class 180 units,11 they are no longer required and will not be used by East Coast. Instead, the five Class 180 units were sent to First Great Western for use between London and the Cotswold Line.
East Coast investigated using one 11-coach Pendolino from July 201112 but decided instead to lease an extra HST set from East Midlands Trains, in use from 22 May 2011 (though it has been used before, in a very mixed set as it was seen with East Coast 43206, East Midlands Trains mk.3s and East Midlands Trains VP185 engined 43074) bringing the number of HSTs leased to 14.13
The fleet of Class 91 locomotives inherited by East Coast has carried various names up until 2008. In 2011, in response to customer requests, East Coast resumed the practice. It began by naming No. 91109 as Sir Bobby Robson, unveiled in a ceremony at Newcastle Central Station on 29 March 2011 by his widow Elsie and Alan Shearer, patron of the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation, which the company was also now a supporter of.1415
In February 2013, the company announced that one of their trains would be named "Skyfall" after the James Bond film of the same name, which featured trains extensively and became the highest-grossing film of all time in the United Kingdom.17
The latest performance figures to be released by NR (Network Rail) rate East Coast's performance up on the same period last year. This period (period 2 of 2013/14), punctuality rose just over 2 percentage points to 89.4% PPM and the moving annual average also rose slightly up from 83.9% to 84.1% (up to 25 May 2013).18
- "East Coast rail change confirmed". BBC News Online. 5 November 2009. Retrieved 5 November 2009.
- "Railway plan puts new focus on passengers" Secretary of State for Transport statement 26 March 2013
- "National Express East Coast franchise" (Press release). Department for Transport. 1 July 2009.
- "Railway plan puts new focus on passengers" Secretary of State for Transport statement 26 March 2013
- "Final East Coast HST set handed over", Railway Herald, Issue 200, p. 5.
- "East Coast > WiFi". National Express. Retrieved 20 November 2009.
- "'Silver link': East Coast IC225s to be reliveried". The Railway Magazine (London) 156 (1308): 6. April 2010. ISSN 0033-8923.
- "Intercity Rail Travel Presentation". Department for Transport. 27 June 2011. Retrieved 8 September 2011.
- "Britain's Intercity Express Programme reaches financial close". International railway journal. 25 July 2012. Retrieved 15 September 2012.
- Miles, Tony (November 2009). "DOR evaluates alternative to Adelante sets". Modern Railways (London): 74.
- "Test Pendolino for East Coast line raises Virgin hackles". RailNews (Stevenage). 13 August 2010. Retrieved 16 August 2010.
- "East Coast leases 14th HST from May". Rail (Peterborough) (669). 4 May 2011.
- "Sir Bobby Robson name given to train". BBC News Online. 29 March 2011. Retrieved 29 March 2011.
- "East Coast Names Train Sir Bobby Robson" (Press release). East Coast. 29 March 2011. Archived from the original on 29 March 2011. Retrieved 29 March 2011.
- "Railfest 2012". York: National Railway Museum.
- "Rail performance results period 2". Network Rail.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: East Coast Main Line Company|
- Official website
- Department for Transport Directly Operated Railways
- Department for Transport InterCity East Coast franchise
National Express East Coast
InterCity East Coast franchise
|Operator of InterCity East Coast franchise
2009 - 2013