We cannot display this gallery

Virgin Trains East Coast Franchise Agreement

In January 2014, FirstGroup, Keolis/Eurostar International Limited (EIL) and Stagecoach/Virgin were announced as the shortlisted candidates for the new franchise. [22] [23] In November 2014, the franchise was awarded to Stagecoach/Virgin which, as Virgin Trains East Coast (VTEC), began operating the franchise on March 1, 2015. [24] [25] [26] In March 2000, the Shadow Strategic Rail Authority (SRA) Sea Containers and Virgin Rail Group chose to run for the next franchise. [2] The franchise was to last 20 years and included proposals for new trains and replacement of sections of tracks. [3] [4] In January 2002, the SRA scrapped the refranchising procedure and granted a two-year extension of Sea Containers until April 2005. [5] [6] Ellie Harrison of the campaign group said: “The current Eastern train franchise has failed in three years, but Transport Minister Chris Grayling is allowing its operators, Stagecoach and Virgin, to leave simply to offer again for the rail franchise.” Stagecoach chief executive Martin Griffiths said he was “encouraged by the new positive direction for British railways” and said the strategy was “a clear Memorandum of Understanding to negotiate new terms for the East Coast franchise with Virgin Trains East Coast, and we hope to reach an agreement by 2020 in the coming months.” Grayling replied: “When we finish this franchise and move on to the new arrangements, no one gets a greeting. Stagecoach will fully fulfill its obligations to the government under this contract. The Department of Transportation has extended the LNER East Coast Postal Line contract for an additional three years. Initially, it was to continue until 2023 and return $3.3 billion to the government in the form of deductible premiums, but as the line was below VTEC`s expectations, it was announced in May 2018 that the contract would be terminated prematurely by the government; VTEC ceased operations on June 23, 2018, when the public operator London North Eastern Railway was transferred. 23.We asked the Department whether commitments for additional services provided in the allocation of the VTEC franchise, including direct services for venues such as Huddersfield, Sunderland and Middlesbrough, would continue to be met. The department wrote to us after the evidence meeting and stated that these commitments would now be met by LNER and that these are necessary in the department`s service agreement with LNER.40 infrastructure improvement on the East Coast to allow for more capacity and new direct services.41 In written evidence to the commission after our evidence meeting, the department told us that it was working with Network Rail to provide these improvements in the early 2020s.

The ministry expects the launch of a new fleet of trains under the Intercity Express program to be completed by 2020, 42 We note that LNER has eliminated some routes between London and Leeds and Edinburgh and Stirling in order to improve the overall reliability of the line in the event of disruption.43 The Ministry is seeking to establish a public-private partnership on the East Coast to take responsibility for the tracks and trains on the line by 2020. She told us that vertical integration of tracks and trains would bring greater efficiency and better results for the taxpayer.44 The expected growth in passenger numbers has not materialized and Stagecoach has requested a rescue by the government. The company acknowledged that it had been overpaid for the franchise, but said delays in network Rail`s infrastructure upgrade and delivery of new Azuma trains were partly responsible. 5. The agreement includes other measures to improve punctuality and ensures the implementation of the programme to replace all swinging doors on the Connex lines in the southeast. During the tendering process, Virgin Trains East Coast promised to pay the government premiums higher than those of its predecessor East Coast,[28] but it completely failed by immediately reducing premiums and abandoning its $3.3 billion franchise.