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TRAVELLERS SWITCH FROM PLANE TO EAST COAST TRAIN

05/04/2011

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Surge in passenger numbers comes as East Coast prepares to launch new Flying Scotsman prestige express

East Coast is welcoming latest statistics which show how its trains are winning the battle for custom against the airlines on its key Edinburgh and Newcastle to London routes.

Figures published today by the Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC) show that in the last five years, East Coast’s market share on the routes linking Edinburgh and Newcastle with London, has risen significantly.

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.

Over the last 18 months, East Coast’s market share on both the Edinburgh and Newcastle to London routes has seen a growing surge, as challenging economic conditions led to increasing numbers of passengers taking advantage of its value for money advance purchase tickets.

The news comes as East Coast prepares to launch a new timetable, the biggest change in 20 years, delivering more seats, more services, improved frequency and faster services – and featuring a prestigious new ‘Flying Scotsman’ early morning non-stop weekday express from Edinburgh and Newcastle to London, completing the journey between the capitals in just four hours.

East Coast Commercial Director Peter Williams said: “We are delighted that so many people are seeing the advantages of the train compared with the plane – including city centre to centre travel, the opportunity to work using Wi-Fi throughout the journey, and great value fares starting from just £13.50 for a standard advance single ticket between Newcastle and London.

“Our exciting new timetable, which starts on Sunday 22 May, will feature many improvements including a brand-new, express Flying Scotsman weekday service, completing the 268.5 miles from Newcastle to London in just 2 hours 37 minutes, and a new improved on-board service including complimentary meals and snacks served at-seat in First Class.

“We expect more passengers will join those already switching to the train when this prestigious new service takes to the tracks”.

The positive shift towards trains and away from planes is also reflected in rises in the number of rail journeys made on the East Coast route, and a decline in numbers using parallel flights. Between 2006 and 2010, total journeys by East Coast train on the Edinburgh to London route increased by 45.4%, while over the same period, numbers using flights to make the same journey fell by 20.8%. In 2010 alone, demand for East Coast’s Edinburgh to London service jumped by 9%.

Between 2006 and 2010, total journeys by East Coast train on the Edinburgh to London increased by 11.2 %, while over the same period, numbers using flights between the two capitals fell by 36.6%.

Also between 2006 and 2010, total journeys by East Coast train on the Newcastle to London increased by 11.2 per cent, while over the same period, numbers using flights between the Newcastle and London fell by 36.6 per cent.

When the new timetable begins, a new early morning weekday train will provide connections from Berwick-upon-Tweed, Alnmouth and Morpeth into the new ‘Flying Scotsman express from Newcastle to London, enabling Northumberland passengers to reach London at 09.40.

Newcastle will also benefit from an additional three weekday and 11 weekend services to and from London.

ENDS

Notes to Editors

Data refers to the combined rail and air market for travel between Newcastle and London. Table 1 shows the rise in East Coast’s market share in the last five years, with each percentage denoting rail’s average market share for the year shown. Table 2 shows the percentage changes in passenger journeys for both air and rail from 2006 to 2010.

All rail figures are from the Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC), while all air figures are from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

Table 1: Rail average market share, Edinburgh/Aberdeen - London

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

London

Edinburgh

17%

18%

21%

23%

27%

London

Aberdeen

4%

5%

6%

7%

8%

Table 2: Passenger journey numbers, Edinburgh/Aberdeen - London:

2008 Air

2008 Rail

2009 Air

2009 Rail

2010 Air

2010 Rail

Air 2010 v 2006 (% change)

Rail 2010 v 2006 (% change)

London

Edinburgh

-7.6%

10.2%

-5.9%

6.1%

-7.2%

15.1%

-20.8%

+45.4%

London

Aberdeen

-7.9%

16.9%

-4.2%

15%

-3.0%

19.1%

-15.6%

+75.7%

Table 3: Rail average market share, Newcastle - London

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

Newcastle

London

50%

54%

59%

60%

64%

Table 4: Passenger journey numbers, Newcastle - London:

2008 Air

2008 Rail

2009 Air

2009 Rail

2010 Air

2010 Rail

Air 2010 v 2006 (% change)

Rail 2010 v 2006 (% change)

Newcastle

London

-15.4%

3.2%

-4.9%

-0.1%

-11.8%

2.5%

-36.6%

+11.2%

East Coast’s new timetable, which will operate from 22 May, will bring more than three million additional seats per year to the East Coast route, 19 new services per weekday, an improved frequency and pattern of services, and faster typical journeys for millions of passengers.

The full new timetable can be viewed online at www.eastcoast.co.uk/22May

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