London North Eastern Railway

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London North Eastern Railway
LNER Logo.svg
Kings Cross - LNER 91125 ecs.JPG
Franchise(s)InterCity East Coast
24 June 2018 – present
Main region(s)
Fleet size
Stations called at53
Stations operated12
National Rail abbreviationGR
Parent companyDfT OLR Holding Limited
London North Eastern
Railway routes
Falkirk Grahamston
Glasgow Central Glasgow Subway
Haymarket Edinburgh Trams
Edinburgh Waverley Edinburgh Trams
Sunderland Tyne and Wear Metro
Newcastle Tyne and Wear Metro
Wakefield Westgate
Lincoln Central
Newark North Gate
London King's Cross London Underground

London North Eastern Railway[1] (LNER) is a British train operating company that operates the InterCity East Coast franchise. LNER operates long-distance inter-city services on the East Coast Main Line, which runs from London King's Cross to North East England and Scotland. It manages 11 stations itself and its trains call at 53 stations in total.

The company is owned by the Department for Transport (DfT). LNER took over the InterCity East Coast franchise in June 2018, after the previous privately owned operator Virgin Trains East Coast returned it to the government following sustained financial difficulties. The DfT intend for the company to provide services until a new public-private partnership can be established in 2020.


In November 2017, the Secretary of State for Transport, Chris Grayling, announced the early termination of the InterCity East Coast franchise in 2020, three years ahead of schedule, following losses on the route by operator Virgin Trains East Coast (VTEC), who had been due to pay more than £2 billion in franchise premiums to the government over the last four years of its contract.[2][3]

This was brought forward in February 2018 to mid-2018. The Department for Transport (DfT) decided to either negotiate a deal with VTEC to continue to run 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.[4][5][6] On 16 May 2018 it was announced that the latter had been decided and that LNER would take over from VTEC on 24 June 2018.[7][8] The DfT also announced that LNER would be the long-term brand applied to the InterCity East Coast franchise.[9] As part of the overall strategy for the East Coast franchise, 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.[10]

LNER is the second time that a government appointed operator of last resort has taken control of the InterCity East Coast franchise; between 2009 and 2015 the franchise was operated by East Coast following National Express East Coast defaulting.[11][12]

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.


LNER has taken over the following services from VTEC:

Leeds & West Yorkshire
Route tph Calling at Peak-time extensions
London King's Cross to Leeds 1 Peterborough, Doncaster and Wakefield Westgate 1tpd to Skipton via Keighley
1tpd to Bradford Forster Square via Shipley
1tpd to Harrogate via Horsforth
1 Stevenage, Grantham, Doncaster and Wakefield Westgate
Hull & East Yorkshire
Route tph Calling at Peak-time extensions
London King's Cross to Newark North Gate or York 1 Stevenage, Peterborough and Grantham
1tp2h extended to York calling at Retford and Doncaster
1tpd to Lincoln
1tpd to Hull
North East & Scotland
Route tph Calling at Peak-time extensions
London King's Cross to Edinburgh Waverley 1 York, Darlington, Newcastle, Berwick-upon-Tweed 1tpd to Inverness
1tpd to Stirling
4tpd to Aberdeen (3 from London King's Cross, 1 from Leeds)
1 Peterborough, Newark North Gate, Doncaster, York, Northallerton (1tp2h), Darlington, Durham, Newcastle, Alnmouth (1tp2h)
Northallerton and Alnmouth are usually served by alternate trains
1tpd to Glasgow Central
1tpd to Sunderland

Future destinations include a proposed service to Middlesbrough, though the Rail Minister, Jo Johnson, told Parliament that it was dependent on the Azuma's being brought into service on the ECML and other schemes in progress that would provide sufficient capacity to enable the service to run.[13] An additional constraint is the lack of a suitably long enough platform at Middlesbrough, which would necessitate a new build at an estimated cost of £20 million.[14]

Named trains[edit]

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

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]

LNER inherited a fleet of InterCity 125 and InterCity 225s from Virgin Trains East Coast. Since September 2016, Virgin Trains East Coast had hired three Class 90s from DB Cargo for use on services to Newark, York and Leeds. LNER has inherited these locomotives and is expected to retain them for the foreseeable future to cover for the current shortage of Class 91 locomotives.

Current fleet[edit]

 Trainset   Class  Image  Type   Top speed   Number   Notes
 mph   km/h 
InterCity 125 Class 43 Peterborough - LNER 43367 rear of up train.JPG Diesel locomotive 125 200 32
Mark 3 carriage IC125@40 - TS 42210 at York.JPG Passenger carriage 125 200 130 14x9 carriage sets + 4 spare
InterCity 225 Class 90 Kings Cross - DB Cargo 90029 on hire to VTEC.JPG Electric locomotive 110 177 6 A short term hire-in from DB Cargo to cover for a shortfall in Class 91s.

Usually 1 or 2 supplied from a pool of 6.

Class 91 Kings Cross - LNER 91125 ecs.JPG Electric locomotive 140 225 31
Mark 4 carriage Rake of VTEC Mark 4 London Kings Cross 1.jpg Passenger carriage 140 225 302
Driving Van Trailer Kings Cross - LNER 82202 rear of ecs.JPG Driving Van Trailer 140 225 31

Future fleet[edit]

The current fleet is scheduled to be replaced by Class 800/Class 801 high-speed trains from May 2019. These will operate in 9-carriage and 5-carriage sets.[15][16]

 Trainset   Class  Image Type  Top speed   Number of Units/Sets   Carriages   Routes 
 mph   km/h 
Hitachi Super Express Class 800 Azuma LNER Azuma.jpg Bi-Mode Multiple Unit 140 225 10 5 All
13 9
Class 801 Azuma EMU 140 225 12 5 All electrified routes
30 9


London North Eastern Railway has four main depots:


  1. ^ Companies House extract company no 4659712 London North Eastern Railway Limited
  2. ^ Elder, Bryce (29 November 2017). "Stagecoach soars after government intervenes on contract". Financial Times. London: Nikkei. Retrieved 2 December 2017.
  3. ^ Topham, Gwyn (29 November 2017). "East Coast rail 'bailout' could cost taxpayers hundreds of millions". The Guardian. London: Guardian Media Group. Retrieved 2 December 2017.
  4. ^ "Stagecoach to lose East Coast Mainline rail franchise". BBC News. 5 February 2018. Retrieved 5 February 2018.
  5. ^ "Stagecoach East Coast deal to end early". 6 February 2018 – via
  6. ^ Virgin Trains East Coast franchise to end within months Railway Gazette International 6 February 2018
  7. ^ "East coast main line trains back in public hands again next month". Retrieved 16 May 2018.
  8. ^ "LNER". Retrieved 16 May 2018.
  9. ^ "Short-term Intercity East Coast train operator 2018 options report" (PDF). May 2018. p. 20 (numbered 16).
  10. ^ East Coast rail update Secretary of State for Transport 16 May 2018
  11. ^ "East Coast rail change confirmed". BBC News Online. 5 November 2009. Retrieved 16 May 2018.
  12. ^ "Stagecoach and Virgin win East Coast mainline rail franchise". BBC News. 27 November 2014. Retrieved 16 May 2018.
  13. ^ Harris, Nigel, ed. (26 September 2018). "Plan for Azuma's to Middlesbrough". Rail Magazine. No. 862. Peterborough: Bauer Media. p. 21. ISSN 0953-4563.
  14. ^ Johnston, Howard (24 October 2018). "Regional News". Rail Magazine. No. 864. Peterborough: Bauer Media. p. 26. ISSN 0953-4563.
  15. ^ Intercity Rail Travel Presentation Department for Transport 27 June 2011
  16. ^ Britain's Intercity Express Programme reaches financial close International Railway Journal 25 July 2012

External links[edit]

Media related to London North Eastern Railway at Wikimedia Commons

Preceded by
Virgin Trains East Coast
InterCity East Coast franchise
Operator of InterCity East Coast franchise
2018 -
Succeeded by