Train operator East Coast today welcomed the creation of a new ground-breaking timetable for rail services on the East Coast Main Line.
The new timetable, which has now been named ‘Eureka!’, has been in development by the rail industry for more than ten years. It will add thousands more seats, provide new services, speed up average journey times, improve connections, and make better use of available track space across the East Coast Main Line.
This will provide much-needed new capacity to accommodate the extra customers predicted to travel by rail over the next decade. Following a final period of stakeholder consultation and public information to be launched by East Coast from 1 February, the new timetable is planned for implementation on 22 May, 2011.
Speaking about this next, final phase of the timetable development, Elaine Holt, Chairman of East Coast, said: “Eureka! has been a long time in the making – and represents the biggest change on the East Coast Main Line since electrification in 1991 – and we welcome the fact that we’re now closer than ever to this new approach becoming a reality.
“There’s a lot of good news in the pipeline for East Coast customers.”
The new timetable will deliver:
• 25 extra services and thousands of additional seats every weekday;
• Faster average journey times from Leeds, York, Newcastle, Edinburgh and other key stations;
• A brand new direct service between Lincoln and London King’s Cross, with 7 return services per day and using an additional fleet of trains;
• An additional train from Dundee to London King’s Cross;
• And a ‘clock face’ timetable that will make it easier for customers to become familiar with the new timetable – with the potential for journey time benefits.
The new East Coast timetable has been named Eureka! – as an expression of accomplishment on the development of a ground-breaking new plan for the rail industry. East Coast will adopt a distinctive sub-brand identity on all future marketing materials and customer information – as a means of drawing the attention of customers to the future changes in the timetable when it’s implemented in 16 months' time.
Karen Boswell, Managing Director of East Coast, added: “We’re now in the final stages of understanding the timetable plan which Network Rail and the Department for Transport have been leading on behalf of the industry.
“As part of the new plan, the DfT is considering a change to East Coast through services between London King’s Cross and Glasgow, terminating the majority of these instead at Edinburgh. Under the plan, these services will not be lost, but will transfer to the Cross Country rail franchise. Also, it is proposed that East Coast will continue to operate one return service per day between Glasgow, via Motherwell and Edinburgh, to London King’s Cross.
“There’s been some opposition in Scotland to this element of the plan, based on an initial misunderstanding that Glasgow services would be removed, rather than transferred to another Anglo-Scottish operator, who could develop a new, more substantial rail market. The facts are clear.”
• East Coast Main Line rail companies have only operated Edinburgh to Glasgow services since 1991;
• Much has changed in the last two decades. A massive £9 billion of investment has been undertaken on the West Coast Main Line in recent years.
• Average journey times from London to Glasgow on the West Coast Main Line are now 4 hours 32 minutes, whilst the quickest service via the East Coast route is 5 hours 20 minutes.
• Virgin Trains operates a total of 26 services between London Euston and Glasgow daily via the West Coast Main Line. East Coast operates just 8 return services each day between Edinburgh and Glasgow, whilst ScotRail operates a train every 15 minutes from 06.30hrs throughout the day, only reducing to a half-hourly service after 19.30 hrs.
• In 2009, East Coast carried an average of just 15 Glasgow – London customers per train, representing less than 1% of the 18.1 million East Coast passenger journeys made last year.
With the transfer of most Edinburgh to Glasgow services from East Coast to Cross Country, a new direct rail service could be created between Glasgow/ Motherwell, and the North East of England, Yorkshire and the Midlands, via York, Leeds and the East Midlands, opening up new journey opportunities for passengers.
“I’m acutely aware that some of our staff based at Glasgow will be affected should the industry decide to proceed with this part of the plan”, continued Karen Boswell.
“We would seek to redeploy or transfer as many of the 44 staff potentially affected – and would work hard to reduce any redundancies to an absolute minimum, following detailed consultation with employees and trades unions.”
The next phase of consultation and customer information starts from 1 February. As part of this final phase, East Coast will be utilising a mobile information bus to tour the entire length of the East Coast route and a schedule will be published on the East Coast website next week.
About East Coast
On Monday to Friday, East Coast operates 155 train services along the East Coast Main Line, linking London King's Cross, the East Midlands, Yorkshire, North East England and Scotland..
Out of normal office hours (17.30 to 09.00 hours) please call 08700 005151 and ask for the duty press officer to be paged.
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