VIRGIN Trains East Coast (VTEC) completed the transfer of the business to the Government-backed LNER company over the weekend of June 23-24.
The new company was set up to take the business to the next franchise award.
The VTEC franchise, 90% owned by Stagecoach, had been suffering losses, and had pumped more than £160million of its own money into the business to offset declining passenger numbers.
During its tenure from March 2015, VTEC says it invested £75m and also increased premium payments to the Government by 30% over what Directly Operated Railways did when the DfT took back the National Express franchise.
VTEC says it has paid £800m to the Government. It also claimed passenger satisfaction increased following a re-fit of the carriages internally and work to improve rolling stock reliability.
Under the control of LNER, the next big phase will be to introduce the first of 65 Hitachi ‘Azuma’ trains to the network from December, now all 57 stations served have been cleared for use by the new trains.
Rebranding the franchise is said to be costing £8m.
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