New Edinburgh-London budget rail service given green light

New Edinburgh-London budget rail service given green light

FirstGroup plc has been given the green light to launch a new low fare rail service between London, north-east England and Edinburgh.

The 10-year track access rights application approved by the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) will enable the Group’s East Coast Trains Limited to begin operating five trains a day each way from London King’s Cross to Edinburgh by 2021.

Passengers will benefit from an average fare of less than £25, free Wi-Fi and on-board catering, all offered in one high-quality class of travel.

The new service is designed to provide choice for passengers looking to travel between London and Scotland, and will encourage travellers to switch from air or coach travel to rail.

Tim O’Toole, chief executive, commented: “I’m pleased that the ORR has granted track access rights for our unique low-cost service between London, the North East of England and Edinburgh.

“This is great news for passengers, as our new service will widen the choice of travel options between these cities and offer an attractive alternative to those available today.

“We will offer genuinely low fares at half the average price of today, while adding significant benefits to the UK economy.

“Our brand new trains will be cheaper than other rail services, greener than the plane, quicker than the coach and will get passengers from London to Edinburgh earlier than they can arrive today, all for an average fare of less than £25.

“Now that our application has been approved and we have been granted rights we will implement the next steps to deliver our proposals which include discussions with Network Rail and rolling stock manufacturers."