More London trains as Britain’s worst operator steps up a gear

BRITAIN’S poorest-performing train company today launched a new timetable which will provide three million extra seats a year on the main line between Yorkshire and London.

The East Coast main line company, which is run in the public sector, is currently bottom of the table for train punctuality.

Today, East Coast, run under the control of the Department for Transport, announced that on May 22 it will be starting new services and a complimentary meal-and-drink service for first-class passengers.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

The new timetable includes new direct return services from London King’s Cross to Lincoln and Harrogate, and a new four-hour “Flying Scotsman” express service between Edinburgh and London, calling at Newcastle only and arriving in London at 9.40am.

Showing off the new first-class service on a journey from London to York today, East Coast managing director Karen Boswell said: “As far as the punctuality is concerned, we are not where we want to be. But a lot of the problems have not been our fault.

“From next month we are offering increased journeys and improved journey times.”

The DfT took over the running of the London to Scotland East Coast line at the end of 2009 when the previous operator, National Express, gave up the franchise.

East Coast will revert back to the private sector at the end of 2012.

Ms Boswell said today that the present East Coast company would not be bidding to run the re-let franchise next year but she was determined to hand over a thriving company to the new operator.

The new meal-and-drink service is expected to mean the end of the restaurant car - a feature on the east coast main line since early in the last century.