Industry veteran appointed to lead new East Coast franchise

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A RAIL industry veteran has been appointed to lead the new company which will take over responsibility for running rail services on the East Coast mainline next year.

David Horne, who is currently the managing director of Stagecoach-owned East Midlands Trains, has been appointed to play a major role in establishing the new InterCity East Coast franchise, which is to be operated by Stagecoach and Virgin from March 2015. He will take up the role from next month, and is set to become managing director of Virgin Trains East Coast when the franchise starts.

Mr Horne has more than 25 years experience in the rail industry, having started his career in 1988 as a ticket office clerk in Cornwall. He has also held senior positions within South West Trains and Virgin Trains.

He led the successful bid on behalf of Stagecoach for the East Midlands Trains franchise in 2007.

A spokesman said: “In his time at East Midlands Trains, David has been responsible for delivering the UK’s most punctual long distance services over a five year period, which has also seen significant increases in customer satisfaction.”

Mr Horne said: “I feel very privileged to be given the opportunity to lead this major new franchise. I’ve travelled on East Coast on many occasions over the years, and have seen first-hand the level of pride the team have and the focus on delivering a great service for customers. Over 20 million journeys are made every year on this franchise, which connects some of the UK’s most important cities and it plays a key role in the local communities it serves. There are some really innovative plans for the future, which will see investment in our people, in delivering more for our customers, and will provide better support for our local communities.”

The new Virgin Trains East Coast franchise is planned to run until March 31 2023, with the option for a one-year extension at the Department for Transport’s discretion. Trains will operate under the Virgin Trains East Coast brand and the franchise will be managed by Inter City Railways, a venture between Stagecoach and Virgin.