LNER to run East Coast trains for at least three more years

An LNER Azuma train crosses Culloden viaduct near Inverness.

London North Eastern Railway (LNER), the train operator that runs services on the East Coast main line from London King’s Cross to the East Midlands, Yorkshire, the North East and Scotland, will continue to do so for at least the next three years after the Department for Transport has made a Direct Award.

This will enable LNER to continue delivering planned improvements for passengers, including completing the roll out of Azuma trains and a major timetable uplift that will increase the number of services on offer to passengers and improve journey times. The three-year period of the Direct Award may be extended by up to another two years.

LNER is owned and overseen by the DfT public sector operator DfT OLR Holdings Limited (DOHL). It took over the services formerly run by Virgin Trains East Coast on 24 June 2018.

DOHL also took over the running of Northern Rail, through its wholly owned subsidiary Northern Trains Limited (NTL), on 1 March 2020. That arrangement is not affected in any way by this announcement concerning a Direct Award to LNER.

A spokesperson for LNER said: “We are pleased the Department for Transport has made a Direct Award to LNER to continue operating intercity rail services on the East Coast for another three years with the option to extend for a further two.

“This will allow us to continue delivering planned improvements for customers, including completing the introduction of Azuma trains and associated increase in services, destinations and journey times as well as our enhanced customer experience.”

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