London North Eastern Railway

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London North Eastern Railway
LNER Logo 2019.svg
LNER 91121 and 800113 Kings Cross.jpg
Overview
Franchise(s)InterCity East Coast
24 June 2018 – 2025
Main region(s)
Fleet size
Stations called at55
Stations operated11
Parent companyDfT OLR Holdings for Department for Transport
Reporting markGR
PredecessorVirgin Trains East Coast
Other
Websitewww.lner.co.uk Edit this at Wikidata
London North Eastern Railway
Inverness
Carrbridge
Aviemore
Kingussie
Newtonmore
Blair Atholl
Pitlochry
Dunkeld & Birnam
Perth
Gleneagles
Dunblane
Stirling
Falkirk Grahamston
Aberdeen
Stonehaven
Montrose
Arbroath
Dundee
Leuchars
Kirkcaldy
Inverkeithing
Glasgow Central Glasgow Subway
Motherwell
Haymarket Edinburgh Trams
Edinburgh Waverley Edinburgh Trams
Dunbar
Reston
Berwick-upon-Tweed
Alnmouth
Morpeth
Sunderland Tyne and Wear Metro
Newcastle Tyne and Wear Metro
Durham
Darlington
Middlesbrough
Thornaby
Northallerton
York
Skipton
Keighley
Bradford Forster Square
Shipley
Hull Paragon
Brough
Selby
Harrogate
Horsforth
Leeds
Wakefield Westgate
Doncaster
Retford
Lincoln
Newark North Gate
Grantham
Peterborough
Stevenage
London King's Cross London Underground
The route map for the May to December 2019 LNER timetable
The five daily Lincoln services, which are an extension of terminating services at Newark Northgate, will go live during the currency of this timetable[1]

London North Eastern Railway[2] (LNER) is a British train operating company. It is owned by the DfT OLR Holdings for the Department for Transport (DfT). The company's name echoes that of the London and North Eastern Railway, one of the Big Four companies which operated between 1923 and 1948.

During June 2018, LNER took over the InterCity East Coast franchise, after the previous privately owned operator Virgin Trains East Coast (VTEC) returned it to the government following sustained financial difficulties. The DfT intended for the company to operate the franchise until a new public–private partnership could be established during 2020. However, in July 2019, it was announced that LNER had been given a direct-award to run these services beyond 28 June 2020, up until 2025, making it the longest franchise on the East Coast Main Line since Great North Eastern Railway (GNER).[3] Early on, the integration of Great Northern services into LNER's operation after the expiration of the Thameslink Southern & Great Northern franchise in 2021 was being actively considered as well.

LNER provides long-distance inter-city services on the East Coast Main Line; the principal destinations served are Leeds, York, Newcastle and Edinburgh. It directly manages 11 stations, the largest of which is London King's Cross,[4] while its trains call at 55 stations in total. LNER's initial rolling stock consisted of a fleet of InterCity 125 and InterCity 225 high speed trains that it had inherited from VTEC. During May 2019, the first batch of Class 800 bi-mode high speed multiple units, based on the Hitachi A-train platform, entered service, followed the very similar Class 801 electric multiple units during September of that year. These have been referred to by LNER as the Azuma, and their introduction has permitted the InterCity 125 sets to be withdrawn from service entirely along with most of the Intercity 225s as well. A limited number of Intercity 225 sets have been retained and continue to be regularly operated by LNER.

History[edit]

Background[edit]

During November 2017, the then Secretary of State for Transport, Chris Grayling, announced the early termination of the InterCity East Coast franchise in 2020, three years ahead of schedule; this action had followed persistent losses incurred by Virgin Trains East Coast (VTEC), the operator of the route. VTEC had been contracted to pay more than £2 billion in franchise premiums to the British government across the final four years of its contract.[5][6]

In February 2018, the end date of the VTEC franchise was brought forward to mid-2018; the Department for Transport (DfT) had decided to either negotiate with VTEC for it to continue running the franchise on a temporary non-profit basis while a new franchise competition was conducted, or to arrange for VTEC be taken over by the DfT's operator of last resort.[7][8][9] On 16 May 2018, it was announced that the latter option was now being pursued and as such, LNER would take over operations from VTEC on 24 June 2018.[10][11] The DfT also announced that LNER would be the long-term brand applied to the InterCity East Coast franchise.[12] During a speech in May 2018, the Secretary of State for Transport stated that Great Northern services could potentially be integrated into the operation when the Thameslink Southern & Great Northern franchise expires in 2021 as part of the overall strategy for the East Coast franchise.[13]

The setting up of LNER is the second occasion that a government-appointed operator of last resort has taken control of the InterCity East Coast franchise; between 2009 and 2015, the franchise had been operated by East Coast. It had taken over operations from National Express East Coast after that operator had defaulted on franchise payments to the government, and thus had its franchise taken away.[14] East Coast had been the prior operator to VTEC being selected to take over the franchise.[15]

Changes[edit]

A major aspect of LNER's vision for the franchise has been the rollout of the European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS). David Horne, LNER's managing director, stated that digital signalling is necessary to unlock the full capabilities of its rolling stock, enabling drivers to continuously receive information in real time, yielding improvements in responsiveness, safety, and reliability over the traditional lineside signalling.[16] The company has worked with Network Rail, the British government, and the trade unions on this endeavour, and has been heavily involved in the planning and preparatory works; it has also undertaking the training of its staff in readiness for its use.[17]

By mid-2020, LNER had considerably curtailed its services in response to the significant decline of passenger travel amid the COVID-19 pandemic.[18][19] From 15 June 2020, both passengers and staff on public transport in England, including LNER services, were required to wear face coverings while travelling, and that anyone failing to do so would be liable to be refused travel or fined.[20][21]

LNER was one of several train operators impacted by the 2022 United Kingdom railway strike, which was the first national rail strike in the UK for three decades.[22] Its workers were amongst those who voted in favour of taking industrial action due to a dispute over pay and working conditions.[23][24] LNER appealed to the public not to use its railways on the days of the strikes, as it was only capable of operating a very minimalist timetable on any of these dates due to the number of its staff that participated.[25][26]

Services[edit]

As of December 2021, the off-peak service pattern is:[27]

London - Leeds & West Yorkshire
Route tph Calling at Peak-time extensions
London King's Cross to Leeds 1
1
London - York or Lincoln
Route tph Calling at Peak-time extensions
London King's Cross to Lincoln or York 1
London - The North-east & Scotland
Route tph Calling at Peak-time extensions
London King's Cross to Edinburgh Waverley via Newcastle 1
1
  • Northallerton and Alnmouth are usually served by alternate trains

An expanded service to Lincoln began on 21 October 2019 when four terminating services at Newark Northgate were extended into Lincoln.[28] This is in addition to the sole one train per day service, which in all, now provides five out and back workings to and from London King's Cross. LNER also plans for December 2019 timetable change that a sixth return service to London from Lincoln will be introduced and five extra services on a Saturday will begin from 7 December 2019.[29] From December 2019, LNER introduced a Harrogate to London service 6 times a day.[30] LNER expects to introduce two-hourly services to Bradford and a daily service to Huddersfield in May 2020 when more Azuma trains have been introduced.[31][32]

During September 2018, a proposed service to Middlesbrough was announced, though the Rail Minister, Jo Johnson, informed Parliament that this proposal was dependent on the Azumas being brought into service on the ECML, in addition to other schemes then in progress, that would provide sufficient capacity to enable the service to run.[33] This service commenced on 13 December 2021.[citation needed]

Named services[edit]

London North Eastern Railway operates a number of named passenger services:

Name Origin Destination Other details
Flying Scotsman Edinburgh Waverley London King's Cross Service began 1862 in both directions; named by LNER in 1924. Now Edinburgh to London and only stops at Newcastle railway station for a driver/crew swap.
Highland Chieftain London King's Cross Inverness The longest LNER route
Northern Lights London King's Cross Aberdeen
West Riding Limited Bradford Forster Square London King's Cross Operates from Bradford to London only.

Rolling stock[edit]

Three generations of East Coast Main Line trains at York. A Class 43 InterCity 125 (left) with a Class 800 Azuma (centre) and a InterCity 225 (right)

At its commencement, LNER operated a fleet of InterCity 125 and InterCity 225 high speed trains that it had inherited from Virgin Trains East Coast (VTEC). Since September 2016, VTEC had also hired three Class 90s from DB Cargo for use on services to Newark, York and Leeds. LNER inherited these locomotives and retained them until June 2019 to cover for the shortage of Class 91 locomotives.[citation needed]

During May 2019, the first batch of Class 800 new-build high speed trains began entering service, the very similar Class 801 trains also followed in September of that year. These units are based on the Hitachi A-train design and LNER retained the Azuma brand for the units which was originally designated by VTEC.[34] The initial operation of these units allowed the InterCity 125 and InterCity 225 fleets to be replaced gradually. On 15 May, the first Azuma train to enter service, a nine-carriage 800/1, was operated on the Leeds route from King's Cross.[35] Other subclasses of the 800 and 801 variants entered service afterwards; the first two five-carriage 801/1 sets entered service on 16 September, operating as a ten-carriage train; the first lot of five-carriage 800/2 sets entered service to coincide with the launch of the new King's Cross - Lincoln services on 21 October while the first two nine-carriage 801/2 sets entered service on 18 November.[36][37][38][39] By May 2021, all units in the Azuma fleet had entered revenue service following unit 800109's return to service, which was the unit involved in the derailment at Neville Hill TMD in November 2019 and subsequently had to undergo repairs.[40][41]

Following the withdrawal of the InterCity 125 fleet in December 2019, it was previously thought that the InterCity 225 fleet would be fully withdrawn by June 2020.[42] However, on 29 January 2020, LNER announced that they would be retaining a limited number of the InterCity 225 fleet to deliver all of the benefits of their December 2021 timetable.[43] In September 2020, Eversholt Rail Group and London North Eastern Railway extended their lease to ten units by 2023; additionally, there are options to extend the time frame up to 2024. These retained units have been subject to an overhaul performed at Wabtec's Doncaster plant.[44][45] At the end of service on 15 January 2021, the remaining serviceable InterCity 225 sets went into storage temporarily as part of the East Coast Upgrade.[46] Originally, the plan was to return the sets to service for 7 June 2021, however, the first set actually re-entered service on 11 May 2021 due to a number of Azuma sets having to be taken temporarily out of service for inspections and repairs where appropriate.[47]

During June 2022, LNER unveiled its new livery, based on the traditional British Rail-era Intercity styling, on one of its Intercity 225 sets.[48]

Current fleet[edit]

 Class  Image  Type  Top Operation Speed  Top speed  Number Built  Carriages   Notes 
mph  mph   km/h 
InterCity 225 trains
91 91108 LNER Kings Cross.jpg Electric locomotive 125 140 225 12 1988–1991 10 sets formed of 9 carriages each Seating Map
Mark 4 Virgin Trains East Coast Mk 4 by Matt Buck.jpg Passenger carriage 90 1989–1992
Driving Van Trailer Kings Cross - LNER 82202 rear of ecs.JPG Control car 10 1988
Hitachi AT300 Azuma trains
800/1 An LNER Azuma train on the East Coast Railway Line, geograph 6275180 by Walter Baxter.jpg Bi-mode multiple unit 100/124 124 200[49] 13 2015–2018 9 Seating Map
800/2 10 2018 5
LNER Class 800 1.png
LNER Class 800 2.png
801/1 801220 LNER Azuma Kings Cross.jpg Electric multiple unit 12 2017–2020 5
801/2 30 9
LNER Class 801 1.png
LNER Class 801 2.png

Past fleet[edit]

The entry into service of the Azuma fleet allowed all fourteen of LNER's HST sets to be withdrawn from service, with the last three sets working their final services with LNER on 15 December 2019.[50] Nine of the sets transferred to East Midlands Railway, with two power cars from one set transferring to CrossCountry to supplement its existing five sets.[51]

 Class  Image  Type   Top speed   Number  Built  Carriages 
 mph   km/h 
InterCity 125 trains (HSTs)
43 Gleneagles - LNER 43305 up Highland Chielftain.JPG Diesel locomotive 125 200 32 1976–1982 14 sets formed of 9 carriages each
Mark 3 IC125@40 - TS 42210 at York.JPG Passenger carriage 130 1975–1988
InterCity 225 trains
91 91108 LNER Kings Cross.jpg Electric locomotive 140 225 16 1988–1991 16 sets formed of 9 carriages each
Mark 4 Virgin Trains East Coast Mk 4 by Matt Buck.jpg Passenger carriage 189 1989–1992
Driving Van Trailer Kings Cross - LNER 82202 rear of ecs.JPG Control car 21 1988

Depots[edit]

LNER's fleet is stored and maintained at the following depots:

References[edit]

  1. ^ "LNER Timetable" (PDF). lner.co.uk. Notes C and D. p. 4. Archived (PDF) from the original on 22 May 2020. Retrieved 16 May 2019.
  2. ^ "London North Eastern Railway Limited: company no. 4659712". Companies House. Archived from the original on 17 May 2018. Retrieved 17 May 2018.
  3. ^ "Nationalisation of East Coast mainline extended until 2025". The Parliamentary Review. 7 July 2019. Archived from the original on 10 July 2019. Retrieved 10 July 2019.
  4. ^ "Estimates of station usage | ORR Data Portal". dataportal.orr.gov.uk. Retrieved 9 March 2021.
  5. ^ Elder, Bryce (29 November 2017). "Stagecoach soars after government intervenes on contract". Financial Times. London: Nikkei. Archived from the original on 3 December 2017. Retrieved 2 December 2017.
  6. ^ Topham, Gwyn (29 November 2017). "East Coast rail 'bailout' could cost taxpayers hundreds of millions". The Guardian. London. Archived from the original on 2 December 2017. Retrieved 2 December 2017.
  7. ^ "Stagecoach to lose East Coast Mainline rail franchise". BBC News. 5 February 2018. Archived from the original on 5 February 2018. Retrieved 5 February 2018.
  8. ^ "Stagecoach East Coast deal to end early". BBC News. 6 February 2018. Archived from the original on 15 July 2018. Retrieved 21 July 2018.
  9. ^ "Virgin Trains East Coast franchise to end within months". Railway Gazette International. 6 February 2018. Archived from the original on 17 May 2018. Retrieved 16 May 2018.
  10. ^ "East coast main line trains back in public hands again next month". Archived from the original on 17 May 2018. Retrieved 16 May 2018.
  11. ^ "LNER". www.lnerailway.co.uk. Archived from the original on 16 May 2018. Retrieved 16 May 2018.
  12. ^ "Short-term Intercity East Coast train operator 2018 options report" (PDF). May 2018. p. 20 (numbered 16). Archived (PDF) from the original on 29 November 2020. Retrieved 16 May 2018.
  13. ^ "East Coast rail update". Secretary of State for Transport. 16 May 2018. Archived from the original on 16 May 2018. Retrieved 16 May 2018.
  14. ^ "East Coast rail change confirmed". BBC News Online. 5 November 2009. Archived from the original on 24 August 2017. Retrieved 16 May 2018.
  15. ^ "Stagecoach and Virgin win East Coast mainline rail franchise". BBC News. 27 November 2014. Archived from the original on 30 September 2018. Retrieved 16 May 2018.
  16. ^ "£1 billion technology investment to bring railway into 21st century". gov.uk. 29 June 2022.
  17. ^ Roberts, Charlie (9 September 2019). "Quick-fire interview with Paul Boyle, head of ETRMS, LNER". marketforcelive.com. Retrieved 23 July 2022.
  18. ^ "Coronavirus: Rail franchise agreements suspended to avoid company collapses". Sky News. 23 March 2020. Archived from the original on 27 May 2020. Retrieved 23 March 2020.
  19. ^ Osborne, Samuel (27 December 2021). "COVID-19: Christmas travel disruption as Omicron hits rail and airline staffing". news.sky.com.
  20. ^ "Transport Secretary's statement on coronavirus (COVID-19): 4 June 2020". GOV.UK. Archived from the original on 23 June 2020. Retrieved 21 June 2020.
  21. ^ Paton, Graeme. "Coronavirus: facemask plans mired in confusion". The Times. Archived from the original on 21 June 2020. Retrieved 21 June 2020.
  22. ^ "Rail strike: RMT union votes for national action". BBC News. 24 May 2022. Retrieved 24 May 2022.
  23. ^ "The dates of the train, Tube and bus strikes this week, and how services will be affected". inews.co.uk. 20 June 2022. Retrieved 24 June 2022.
  24. ^ "Railway workers at LNER and Transpennine Express among those to vote to strike". yorkmix.com. 24 May 2022.
  25. ^ Bryant, Toby (27 June 2022). "'Do not travel': LNER chaos as services cancelled despite end of railway strike". newcastleworld.com.
  26. ^ Badshah, Nadeem; Topham, Gwyn (14 July 2022). "RMT announces further rail strike over two days in August". theguardian.com.
  27. ^ "LNER Services Timetable: December 2021 to May 2022" (PDF). Retrieved 29 December 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  28. ^ "Lincoln trains". lner.co.uk. Archived from the original on 30 August 2019. Retrieved 30 August 2019.
  29. ^ Pritchard, Robert, ed. (June 2019). "Expanded Lincoln-London service in September". Today's Railways. No. 210. Sheffield: Platform 5. p. 17. ISSN 1475-9713.
  30. ^ "New Harrogate-London rail times revealed". Harrogate Advertiser. 17 May 2019. Archived from the original on 17 May 2019. Retrieved 20 May 2019.
  31. ^ "LNER begins rollout of azuma trains". Archived from the original on 14 May 2019. Retrieved 22 May 2019.
  32. ^ "Promised improvements to Leeds train services delayed by up to TWO YEARS". leeds-live.co.uk. 24 April 2019. Archived from the original on 22 May 2020. Retrieved 22 May 2019.
  33. ^ Harris, Nigel, ed. (26 September 2018). "Plan for Azuma's to Middlesbrough". Rail Magazine. No. 862. Peterborough: Bauer Media. p. 21. ISSN 0953-4563.
  34. ^ "LNER". Brand Cooke. Archived from the original on 30 January 2020. Retrieved 30 January 2020.
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  36. ^ "September 16 launch for Class 801 Azumas on London-Leeds route". Rail. 1 August 2019. Archived from the original on 1 August 2019. Retrieved 1 August 2019.
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  38. ^ "Britain's Intercity Express Programme reaches financial close". International Railway Journal. 25 July 2012. Archived from the original on 12 June 2018. Retrieved 16 May 2018.
  39. ^ "Intercity Rail Travel Presentation". Department for Transport. 27 June 2011. Archived from the original on 12 June 2018. Retrieved 16 May 2018.
  40. ^ "Watch the moment damaged Azuma involved in depot crash passes through Leeds Station at walking pace". www.yorkshirepost.co.uk. 25 November 2019. Archived from the original on 29 November 2020. Retrieved 6 November 2020.
  41. ^ "8 carriages of 800109 repaired". Modern Railways. No. 870. March 2021. p. 34.
  42. ^ "FROM THE ARCHIVES: Traction transition: HST to Azuma". www.railmagazine.com. Archived from the original on 21 January 2020. Retrieved 17 January 2020.
  43. ^ Railway, London North Eastern (29 January 2020). "If you're a fan of our IC225 trains, you can continue to enjoy them for a bit longer. We are retaining a number of them in order to deliver all of the benefits of our Dec 2021 timetable plans. Here is our favourite, For the Fallen, at York Station.pic.twitter.com/ry89sQ45JE". @LNER. Archived from the original on 30 January 2020. Retrieved 30 January 2020.
  44. ^ "IC225 Fleet Lease Extension and Overhaul". Eversholt Rail. Retrieved 25 December 2020.
  45. ^ "LNER to retain 10 Class 91s up to 2023, as overhaul contracts awarded". RailAdvent. Retrieved 25 December 2020.
  46. ^ Horne, David (15 January 2021). "Last day in service for our speed record-breaking #Class91 locomotives today... for a while". Twitter.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  47. ^ "LNER reintroduces stored InterCity 225 trains into service". Rail Technology Magazine. Retrieved 12 May 2021.
  48. ^ Holden, Michael (13 June 2022). "WATCH: LNER unveils new livery for Intercity 225 trains". railadvent.co.uk.
  49. ^ "Speed limiters for Hitachi fleets". Traction & Stock. The Railway Magazine. Vol. 168, no. 1457. August 2022. p. 92.
  50. ^ "VIDEO - Fans bid farewell to the iconic InterCity 125 at York". Minster FM. 15 December 2019. Archived from the original on 16 December 2019. Retrieved 16 December 2019.
  51. ^ "East Midlands Railway to acquire HS diesel trains from LNER". Business Traveller. Archived from the original on 16 December 2019. Retrieved 16 December 2019.
  52. ^ Card-Jones, Heather (20 October 2021). "Northern now in full control of Leeds' Neville Hill depot". RailAdvent. Retrieved 7 April 2022.

External links[edit]

Preceded by Operator of InterCity East Coast franchise
2018–2025
Succeeded by
Incumbent