National Express has been Awarded Intercity Franchise
UK-based passenger transport company National Express Group has been awarded the franchise to operate a new InterCity east coast franchise running from London to Scotland.
The new franchise – worth £600m for one year – is the main north-south rail route linking London with Scotland via the cities of Peterborough, Leeds, Doncaster, York, Newcastle, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Inverness.
National Express is investing £24m in rolling stock for the entire line, which will be called National Express East Coast.
The refurbishment includes a make-over for its fleet of extra trains from December 2010, part of a £7.4m investment programme in station upgrades which includes electronic real-time information points detailing train times.
The company is also installing CCTV on its existing fleet of trains in addition to meeting green targets including reducing fuel consumption per passenger and a new ‘carbon club’ travel incentive to encourage passengers to continue using public transport.
The franchise was put out to tender last year after the US parent company of British rail firm GNER ran into financial difficulties and was unable to pay the £1.3bn it had promised the government for the right to run the service.
In a statement released today, GNER said it shared the disappointment of its bid partners, Stagecoach Group and The Virgin Group, at the loss of the franchise. GNER stressed that it would now look towards working closely with the winning bidder to ensure a smooth handover and the maintenance of high service standards during the transition.
The franchise is expected to begin on 9 December this year, running until 31 March 2015.