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NEW FLYING SCOTSMAN GETS OFF TO A FLIER!

27/05/2011

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Flagship service on time as operator prepares for Bank Holiday travel

The new ‘Flying Scotsman’ express service from Edinburgh and Newcastle to London ran on time every day in its first week on the rails.

The news was confirmed by the train operator today after a busy five days in which thousands of extra travellers switched to its trains due to ash from an erupting Icelandic volcano.

East Coast’s ‘Flying Scotsman’ service departs Edinburgh Waverley at 05.40 each weekday, stopping only at Newcastle at 07.03 and arriving at London King’s Cross at 09.40.

East Coast Commercial Director Peter Williams said: “We are delighted by our customers’ reaction to our new Flying Scotsman service. Since we launched it on Monday, it has reached King’s Cross on time every day this week, making the 393-mile journey between the Scottish and English capitals in just four hours.

“We’ve had a very positive response from customers who have flocked to use the service following its fantastic launch on Monday.

“And, with flights grounded again this week because of yet another Icelandic ash cloud, East Coast’s trains eased the pain for travellers. We carried almost 5,000 extra passengers between Edinburgh and London on Tuesday alone.

“Our new timetable, which was also launched earlier this week, includes five more services each weekday between Edinburgh and London. This has helped us to carry more people, while we extended two services between Edinburgh and Newcastle on Wednesday to further boost the number of available seats.”

East Coast this week launched a new timetable which will provide 117 extra services per week, more than three million additional seats and many faster journeys. The operator also introduced major improvements for customers travelling in First Class, including a new Quiet Coach and complimentary food and drinks, served at seat for no extra charge.

Peter Williams added: “The new Flying Scotsman, improved First Class on-train service and timetable will help us to continue to grow our market share against the airlines. They represent the biggest improvements to the East Coast route for a generation and are bringing more seats, more services and many faster journeys for millions of passengers.”

The latest passenger gains for East Coast follow recent research suggesting that the train operator has been attracting more airline passengers to switch to its trains, particularly from Edinburgh and Newcastle.

The express ‘Flying Scotsman’ takes a break on Bank Holiday Monday, 30 May, and will return on Tuesday, 31 May as business travel resumes following the holiday weekend.

East Coast will be operating a near normal service on all three days over the Bank Holiday. Full details of revised schedules are available on the operator’s website, www.eastcoast.co.uk, or from National Rail Enquiries on 08457 484950.

ENDS.

Notes to Editors

Performance statistics for Monday to Friday, 23 to 27 May, show East Coast’s ‘Flying Scotsman’ train completed its journey from Edinburgh to London on time, as defined by the industry standard Public Performance Measure (PPM).

East Coast’s new timetable, which launched on Sunday, 22 May, has been developed over ten years and has created:

• 19 more weekday services – an increase from 136 to 155 services on Monday-Thursday and 137 to 156 on Fridays;

• An increase in weekend services to: 102 Saturday services and 99 Sunday services (13 additional services on Saturdays and 9 additional services on Sundays, compared to the previous timetable;

• More than 3 million more seats per year; an additional 10,800 seats per weekday Improved journey times for many destinations;

• Improved connectivity at key interchanges and better connections with other train operators;

• An easier to use and more memorable timetable;

• An improved industry timetable, making better use of existing track space, fleet and staff;

• New seven days-a-week service between London and Harrogate for the first time in 20 years;

• New daily direct services between London King’s Cross and Lincoln, also for the first time in 20 years.

East Coast’s market share on the Edinburgh to London route grew from 21% in 2008 to 27% last year, while its share on the Newcastle to London route grew from 59% in 2008 to 64% last year (source Association of Train Operating Companies, April 2011).

To mark the launch of East Coast’s new Flying Scotsman service, an electric locomotive, number 91101, has also been named ‘Flying Scotsman’. This train locomotive will operate throughout the UK to promote the new service.

East Coast has branded the train in a unique, bold and contemporary style which respects the route’s heritage. It uses the iconic Gill Sans font which was originally introduced by the London and North Eastern Railway (LNER) in the 1920s and applied to its world famous “4472” Flying Scotsman steam locomotive.

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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.

Visit the East Coast Media Centre at http://www.mediacentre.eastcoast.co.uk for a full image library and press release archive.