On 2 March 2015 the official launch of the new rail service between London and Scotland took place. The East Coast franchise was awarded in November 2014 to a consortium of Stagecoach and Virgin. The new franchise will transform rail journeys along the East Coast Main Line, following a £140 million (192 million euros) investment.
The new franchise, which runs until the end of March 2023, will bring 23 new services from London to key destinations, new direct links to Huddersfield, Sunderland, Middlesbrough, Dewsbury and Thornaby, 3100 extra seats for the morning peak time by 2020, faster journey times, and 65 modern Intercity Express trains.
Virgin Trains East Coast is also reducing long-distance standard anytime fares by 10%, which could save passengers travelling from Edinburgh to London around £15 on those journeys. A new website and smartphone apps will further improve door-to-door travel for customers, including planning journeys and buying tickets.
“Today is the start of a new chapter for the East Coast franchise. Passengers will benefit from thousands of extra seats, new connections and improved services between London and Scotland,” Rail minister Claire Perry said.