The eight-year franchise, which includes an option for a one-year extension, covers services from London King's Cross to Leeds, Newcastle, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Inverness. In the 2012-13 financial year East Coast had revenues of £611.7m, covering 19 million journeys and 4.9 billion passenger-km.
Key features of the ITT include:
- The introduction of a new fleet of 43 Hitachi Super Express Trains (SETs) as part of the DfT's Intercity Express programme
- Continuation of services to all destinations served by the current franchise
- Faster average journey times for services from London to Leeds and Edinburgh from May 2020
- Improved services on routes such as London – Lincoln
- Options for introducing new services from London to Huddersfield, Scarborough, Harrogate (via York), Middlesbrough, and Sunderland (via Newcastle), and
- Introduction of a new innovation fund.
The franchise covers services from London King's Cross to Leeds, Newcastle, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Inverness with a total route length of 1480km. In 2012-13 East Coast had total revenues of £692m with an operating profit (before premium) of £183m.
The franchise covers around 21.7 million train-km and 4.9 billion passenger-km with an average train loading of 235 passengers per train-km. According to the DfT 55% of passengers are leisure travellers, 42% are business passengers, and 3% are commuters.
The shortlisted bidders for the franchise are:
- East Coast Trains (First Group)
- Keolis/Eurostar East Coast, and
- InterCity Railways (Stagecoach and Virgin Holdings).
The DfT expects to announce a winning bidder in November.