222017 EMT livery

Franchise(s):Integrated into several franchises
(East Midlands Trains and South West Trains)</td></tr>
Main Town(s):Sheffield, Portsmouth, Southampton, Nottingham</td></tr>
Other Town(s):London, Chesterfield, Leicester, Loughborough</td></tr>
Fleet size:28 Class 43 HST power cars
17 Class 153 Super Sprinter sets
11 Class 156 Super Sprinter sets
27 Class 158 Express Sprinter sets
23 Class 222 Meridian sets</td></tr>
Stations called at:n/a</td></tr>
Parent company:Stagecoach Group</td></tr>


Megatrain is a virtual no-frills intercity train service run by Scottish-based Stagecoach Group. The service began in the United Kingdom on 1 November 2005 with a pilot on South West Trains.

Service overviewEdit

In the UK, prices are advertised as starting at £1, with a 50p booking fee. Megatrain follows the yield management model typically used by low-cost airlines where the lowest fares are offered to those who book early or on less popular journeys. A similar scheme operates on Virgin Trains West Coast between London Euston and Manchester Piccadilly, offering fares from £1 each way rising to about £10, this is operated by The Trainline as The Trainline Print@Home. The crucial difference is that passengers are required to print tickets at home rather than take note of a reservation number.

Tickets must be purchased in advance, with the more in advance, the cheaper they are, via their website or by telephone. As a virtual train operator, it uses carriages of trains operated by Stagecoach and most Virgin Trains services. The Times commented on this on 15 November 2005, a special Megatrain carriage has been set aside to avoid the mixing of Megatrain and non-Megatrain passengers. The article goes on to state, however, that there is nothing to stop those paying ordinary fares sitting in the Megatrain carriage, as the signage only instructs Megatrain passengers on where to sit - not the normal fare ones.

Timeline of servicesEdit

  • Megatrain announced by Stagecoach, on 31 October 2005 that there will be more than 3000 seats available each week.[1]
  • On March 6 2007, the Times Online announces that only 1 in 900 of the passengers carried by either Virgin or South West Trains companies bought a Megatrain low-fare ticket.[2]
  • On 2 January 2008, the Megatrain concept was extended to certain rail services on the East Midlands franchise, with the introduction of Megatrain between London St Pancras and Sheffield, and London and Chesterfield/Nottingham, using a dedicated carriage on selected East Midlands Trains services.


The concept was piloted on South West Trains, Stagecoach's first franchise. The first service of Megatrain was on the London Waterloo to Portsmouth and London Waterloo to Southampton routes. The trains continue to be operated as standard timetabled services by South West Trains but with designated areas for Megatrain customers.

The service was launched on 1 November 2005 for trains to start running on 14 November 2005. Tickets start at £1 and can go up to around £10 half an hour before the train leaves the initial station.

From 22 April 2006 the scheme was expanded to provide cheap rail travel on South West Trains services from London Waterloo to Bristol Temple Meads, Bath Spa, Exeter St Davids/Exeter Central, Yeovil Junction, Bournemouth, Weymouth and Salisbury in addition to the Southampton Central and Portsmouth and Southsea/Portsmouth Harbour services. Poole has since been added as an option on the Weymouth line. From 29 October 2007, following the completion of the Portsmouth area engineering works, it now also runs from London Waterloo to Havant, Honiton and Axminster.

As a result of the East Midlands Trains franchise on 11 November 2007 being owned by Stagecoach, Megatrain services will be running from London St Pancras International to Leicester, Loughborough, Nottingham, Derby, Chesterfield and Sheffield, starting from 2 January 2008.[3]

The service was available on the following Virgin Trains (which is 49% owned by Stagecoach) services as well: Penzance - Bristol Temple Meads, Bournemouth and Southampton Central - Birmingham New Street, Manchester Piccadilly - Glasgow Central/Edinburgh Waverley and Morpeth - Edinburgh Waverley. Tickets are also available from some intermediate stops on these routes. These routes were withdrawn on 11 November 2007 when the train services were transferred to CrossCountry, owned by Arriva.

Routes operated Edit

Route Start date End date Notes
Sheffield - Chesterfield - Derby - Loughborough - Leicester - London St Pancras International 2 January 2008 to date
Nottingham - Loughborough - Leicester - London St Pancras International 2 January 2008 to date
Portsmouth Harbour - Portsmouth & Southsea - London Waterloo 1 November 2005 to date
Havant - London Waterloo 29 October 2007 to date
Southampton Central - London Waterloo 1 November 2005 to date
Bournemouth - London Waterloo 22 April 2006 to date
Poole - London Waterloo 22 April 2006 to date
Weymouth - London Waterloo 22 April 2006 to date
Salisbury - London Waterloo 22 April 2006 to date
Yeovil Junction - London Waterloo 22 April 2006 to date
Axminster - London Waterloo 29 October 2007 to date
Honiton - London Waterloo 29 October 2007 to date
Exeter St Davids - Exeter Central - London Waterloo 22 April 2006 to date
Bath Spa - London Waterloo 22 April 2006 to date
Bristol Temple-Meads - London Waterloo 22 April 2006 to date
Penzance - Bristol Temple Meads 22 April 2006 10 November 2007 Was operated as part of Cross Country franchise
Bournemouth/Southampton Central - Birmingham New Street 22 April 2006 10 November 2007
Manchester Piccadilly - Glasgow Central/Edinburgh Waverley 22 April 2006 10 November 2007
Morpeth - Edinburgh Waverley 22 April 2006 10 November 2007

External links Edit

References Edit

Preceded by
Central Trains
Central franchise
Integrated into East Midlands franchise
2007 - present
Preceded by
Midland Mainline
Midland Main Line franchise
Preceded by
As part of British Rail
Integrated into Cross-Country franchise
2005 — 2007
Succeeded by
Integrated into InterCity West Coast franchise
2005 — present

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