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Stagecoach and Virgin joint venture awarded East Coast mainline contract

Stagecoach and Virgin joint venture awarded East Coast mainline contract

A joint venture between Stagecoach Transport and Virgin Rail has been awarded the franchise for the East Coast mainline.

The firms have agreed to invest £140 million in the route over eight years, and will pay the government £3.3 billion for the contract.

The deal will be finalised pending the successful completion of a standstill period of at least ten days.

This new franchise will run from March 1st 2015 to March 31st 2023 with a further extension of a year callable at my discretion of the secretary of transport.

Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: “This is a significant step forward not just for this vital and historic route but for our whole transport system.


“Traffic on our railways has more than doubled since privatisation from 750 million to 1.6 billion journeys a year.

“The new franchise will realise the benefits of this investment.

“It will be good for towns and cities up and down the east coast of England and Scotland, and good for our economy and jobs.”

This franchise will provide over £140 million in investment for passengers:

The franchise, which covers the route between London and Edinburgh, has been publicly run since 2009.

Following the announcement Mick Cash, RMT General Secretary, said: “It is a national disgrace and an act of utter betrayal that the government has confirmed that it is bulldozing ahead with the re-privatisation of the East Coast Main Line despite all the figures showing that the current public sector operator is handing over a billion pounds back to the British people while delivering huge improvements in service and customer satisfaction.”

It is hoped the Stagecoach/Virgin deal will strengthen the vital links from London to Scotland; all the way along the route as far as Aberdeen and Inverness.

Passengers are expected to benefit from regular, faster, more frequent cross border services to Falkirk, Stirling and Edinburgh, with journeys between London and Edinburgh regularly taking just four hours by May 2020.

By May 2020, Leeds will see regular journey times of two hours while Leeds, Bradford, Shipley, Harrogate and Horsforth will see more services each day when compared to the current timetable.

Sunderland, Middlesbrough, Thornaby, Huddersfield and Dewsbury, will all get services on InterCity East Coast for the first time as a result of this competition and Lincoln which gets just one train a day to London under the current operator will get one every two hours by May 2019 with the new operator.