As Virgin East Coast departs LNER arrives

A southbound Virgin train at Berwick Upon Tweed railway station on the East Coast mainline
A southbound Virgin train at Berwick Upon Tweed railway station on the East Coast mainline

Virgin East Coast will no longer operate the rail service between Edinburgh and London after June 24, this year.

Speaking in the House of Commons last week, the Secretary of State for Transport, Chris Grayling, announced that the rail brand LNER (London North Eastern Railway) will be resurrected to run the service.

“I am creating a new board with an independent chair to oversee the operation of the LNER route and work with my department on building the new partnership,” Mr Grayling told MPs.

“It will have representatives of both the train operating team and Network Rail, as well as independent members who will importantly ensure the interests of other operators on the route are taken into account.

“When it is fully formed the new LNER operation will be a partnership between the public and private sectors.”

Earlier this year it became clear that the Virgin East Coast service could not continue to the end of its franchise period.

Mr Grayling said: “The route continues to generate substantial returns for the government. It is not a failing railway. However, Virgin and Stagecoach got their bids wrong.”

Borders MP John Lamont immediately secured a promise from the Transport Secretary that he would meet Mr Lamont to discuss how the UK Government can help get Reston and East Linton stations reopened.

Responding positively the Transport Minister said: “I want to see services on this route develop, including new destinations.”

“These communities have been waiting far too long for their new stations, which have been promised to them for years now,” said Mr Lamont. “With record amounts of money to spend on railways, the Scottish Government should get on with actually building the station.

“As the Secretary of State pointed out, HS2 also provides us with an excellent opportunity to improve the East Coast Mainline because it will free up network capacity.”