Author Topic: GNER application to introduce new high speed ‘Pendolino’ rail services in Decemb  (Read 1434 times)

Offline Suzy Scott

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GNER application to introduce new high speed ‘Pendolino’ rail services in December 2016 will slash London - Edinburgh journey times

12 February 2014

Great North Eastern Railway (GNER), part of Arriva UK Trains' Alliance Rail Holdings, has today submitted its formal application to the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) for permission to introduce an hourly new high speed express train service on the East Coast Main Line (ECML) between London King’s Cross, Newcastle and Edinburgh from December 2016 which will slash journey times from an average 4 hours 20 minutes to 3 hours 43 minutes between London and Edinburgh, and to 2 hours 29 minutes between London and Newcastle.

Shorter journey times will be achieved using tilting trains, which can travel at higher speeds on curved track. The new nine-coach trains, with around 500 seats, will be updated versions of the ‘Pendolino’ train that has been successful in reducing long distance journey times on the West Coast Main Line (WCML). Purchase of the new trains will be completely privately funded.

The application follows a significant period of consultation, and the responses to that consultation and the application form can be accessed at

In its [Draft] Network Specification of February 2014 Network Rail has noted that there is a ‘business demand for shorter journey times between major cities’ and goes on to state that ‘present passenger figures for the ECML suggest the rail share of the Edinburgh – London market is sub-optimal, with substantial numbers of passengers opting to travel by air. Continued focus will be required on timetable development, minimising the time penalty of station stops and exploiting the improved capability of new rolling stock’.

The ‘Pendolino’ is  the only train capable of providing the journey time reductions required to finally challenge air’s dominance of the route, and will bring with it major economic benefits. By reducing journey times, and focusing on the Edinburgh and Newcastle markets, GNER will address this demand and encourage many travellers to and from London to switch from air to rail. The appeal of the train as being greener and easier than flying will be enhanced by the speed, and high quality of the on board service that GNER will deliver.

Discussions are now further advanced with Network Rail about securing the capacity required to introduce the new service. There has been significant investment in additional capacity on the ECML in recent years with a number of infrastructure upgrades nearing completion and more planned between now and 2019.

In reply to a written question from Therese Coffey MP, Rail Minister Stephen Hammond, MP on 23 January 2014 stated: “Open access operators have helped to provide innovative services for passengers and have helped to grow new rail markets - often with excellent passenger satisfaction scores. The additional competitive pressure in the market provided by open access can also improve the experience of passengers of franchised services”. He continued: “Our assessment is that for this very different part of the rail market the open access system works well for both customers and the public purse.”

Ian Yeowart, managing director of Alliance Rail Holdings, GNER’s parent company said: “We have been very encouraged by the support we have received from a number of consultees, and by the more progressive view coming from Government. With so many northern communities like Hull, Sunderland, Bradford, Halifax, Teesside and Hartlepool benefiting from open access services, it would be extremely unfortunate if the opportunity to introduce a new open access high speed service by 2016 was not taken - particularly as it would provide Scotland with its first open access rail service and create a significant number of new jobs in Scotland and the North East of England.”

GNER is a subsidiary of Alliance Rail Holdings (‘Alliance’), which is part of Arriva UK Trains.
Alliance develops plans for ‘open access’ train services that operate outside the franchise system and are not specified by the Department for Transport or Transport Scotland.
Alliance has also made an application to operate services on the West Coast Main Line through its company GNWR. A decision on this application is expected imminently from the ORR.
Click to view the full Parliamentary question and answer with Therese Coffey and Stephen Hammond
Around 250 full time equivalent jobs will be created by the new service

Offline AE55DKN

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I can see this working, and not working....

Firstly there going to have to undercut east-coast prices....which on some fares is quite cheap.

Secondly in regards to the track, im not sure to what point, it would need replacing, to make the train tilt. even though it could run in a non-tilting mode at points.

Thirdly, i know certainely on the trail, with the virgin pendo, it arrived into kx, 30 mins early. so it shows what a difference these could make.

Offline David Goddard

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Re: GNER application to introduce new high speed ‘Pendolino’ rail services
« Reply #2 on: February 14, 2014, 07:32:30 PM »
Would certainly add capacity on the East Coast, regardless of any other effects.  Fleet of ten minimum (leaves one spare) but would expect twelve really.

Offline barryb

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I can't imagine the franchisee won't also have ideas for what to do with the capacity!  In the GC application days they had the advantage that the franchisee didn't have the realistic ability to source trains, but we now live in an era where there's lots of new trains hopefully on the way!

Offline harz99

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Lurv the mocked up livery; so much nicer than that awful red.............................