Train operator East Coast makes railway history this morning (Monday 23 May) as it launches a new “Flying Scotsman” express train between Edinburgh, Newcastle and London.
The new four-hour “Flying Scotsman” is the flagship service in East Coast’s keenly-anticipated new timetable, which represents the biggest improvement to the route in 20 years – providing 19 new services per weekday, more than three million seats per year and many faster journeys.
The timetable will also see the introduction of services seven days per week from London to Harrogate and London to Lincoln – for the first time in 20 years.
Alongside the timetable, East Coast has launched major improvements for customers travelling First Class, including a new Quiet Coach and complimentary food and drinks, served at seat for no extra charge.
The “Flying Scotsman” service will depart Edinburgh Waverley each weekday at 05.40 from this morning. It will only stop at Newcastle and will then take just two hours 37 minutes to arrive at London King’s Cross at 09.40.
East Coast has named a locomotive “Flying Scotsman” to mark the revival of this historic service. It has branded the train in a unique, bold and contemporary style which respects the heritage of the route. 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.
PICTURES AND FILM OF THE FLYING SCOTSMAN ARE AVAILABLE ON REQUEST, INCLUDING IMAGES OF THE TRAIN ON SUNDAY 22 MAY, IN ADVANCE OF THE FIRST SERVICE, AND ALSO ON 23 MAY ITSELF AS IT MAKES ITS INAUGURAL JOURNEY.
East Coast Managing Director Karen Boswell said: “East Coast’s fantastic new locomotive and service writes an exciting new chapter in the 149-year history of the Flying Scotsman.
“It’s part of our policy of bringing back train names and restoring pride, passion and even a touch of glamour and romance back to the East Coast railway.
“It’s also about listening to what our customers want: many of them have asked us to bring back train naming and to provide an early morning fast express service from Edinburgh, the Borders and North East England to arrive into London well before 10.00. We’ll achieve both in style with our new Flying Scotsman.”
Recent evidence suggests that East Coast has been attracting more airline passengers to switch to its trains, particularly from Edinburgh and Newcastle.
Karen Boswell added: “The Flying Scotsman, improved First Class offer 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 will bring more seats, more services and many faster journeys for millions of customers.
“We’ll have 117 extra services per week and plan to serve more than a million meals a year – a tenfold increase compared with the current provision – as we continue to grow and improve this great railway.”
Commenting, Passenger Focus' Passenger Link Manager Guy Dangerfield said “Passenger Focus welcomes the extra seats East Coast is providing in this new timetable, including the new Lincoln to London route, the evening train from London to Harrogate and the four hour morning train from Edinburgh to London.
“East Coast’s commitment to deliver better customer service on the route will be welcomed by passengers and Passenger Focus will monitor reaction through our twice-yearly National Passenger Survey.”
Notes to Editors
1. East Coast will operate a new Flying Scotsman service from 23 May:
• Locomotive 91101 will be named and specially branded Flying Scotsman. It will launch the new Flying Scotsman service on 23 May and will feature across the East Coast route to promote the new service;
• The four-hour ‘Flying Scotsman’ express service from Edinburgh to London is only scheduled to stop at Newcastle. This train will depart Edinburgh at 05.40, Newcastle at 07.03 and arrive at London King’s Cross at 09.40 on weekdays;
• A new 06.00 service from Berwick will connect to the Flying Scotsman and provide passengers from Northumberland stations with a rail journey into London before 10.00 for the first time in decades. The 06.00 will depart Alnmouth at 06.19 and Morpeth at 06.35, and arrive into Newcastle at 06.52. It will also arrive into London King’s Cross at 10.06 should passengers not wish to change trains.
2. The new timetable was launched on Sunday 22 May. It has been developed over ten years and creates:
• 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 weekdayImproved 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.
3. East Coast will introduce a new complimentary service for passengers travelling in First Class:
• East Coast improvements to First Class will, from this week, include the introduction of complimentary food and drinks served at-seat, and a new Quiet Coach. This follows extensive market research and aims to grow the number of passengers travelling First Class;
• From Monday 23 May, customers on weekday services will be served a hot breakfast on services before approximately 10.00 (dependent on the length of their journey), with a light menu of sandwiches/salad between 10.00 and 16.00 (and after 19.00) and an evening meal between 16.00 and 19.00;
• The weekend service consists of an all-day light menu;
• Complimentary wines, spirits, beers and soft drinks will be provided during weekdays;
• It is expected that East Coast’s First Class complimentary meal service will entail serving more than one million meals per annum – a ten-fold increase on the previous provision;
• The Company has invested £12m to facilitate the improvements on-board its trains and to undertake a training programme for more than 1,000 staff. It will also employ more than 80 new staff as a result of the new complimentary catering offer and increase in services created by the new timetable;
• Meanwhile, and following customer research which favoured the move, a First Class Quiet Coach will be available on all East Coast services from now on. Passengers travelling in Coach K on electric-hauled trains, or Coach J on diesel-powered services. A Quiet Coach has successfully operated for many years in Coach B in Standard Class on all East Coast services.
4. East Coast is attracting more passengers from ‘plane to train:
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.
5. East Coast's Director of Communications Paul Emberley can be contacted on 07802 776777.
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.