Franchise(s):InterCity East Coast
9 December 200731 March 2015
Main region(s):East Midlands, Yorkshire,
North East England, Central Scotland, Northern Scotland
Other region(s):London
Fleet size:31 Class 91 electric locomotives

30 InterCity 225 sets

11 InterCity 125 (HST) sets
Stations called at:53
Stations operated:12
National Rail abbreviation:GR
Parent company:National Express Group

Template:NXEC route National Express East Coast is the name under which the train operating company NXEC Trains Ltd operates the InterCity East Coast rail franchise, which includes services in England and Scotland. NXEC Trains Ltd is a subsidiary of National Express Group. [1]

Service patternsEdit

In off-peak times, there are three or four trains per hour to and from Kings Cross. The following details apply to weekday operations.

Principal routesEdit


A half-hourly service between Kings Cross and Newcastle operates for most of the day, departing from London on the hour and on the half hour. The ‘top of the hour’ departures continue through to Edinburgh (with the 10:00 keeping the traditional name Flying Scotsman), with some running on to either Glasgow Central, Aberdeen or Inverness. These trains generally run as limited-stop expresses between London and Newcastle: all trains call at York, and most at Peterborough and Darlington, though afternoon and evening departures from Kings Cross run non-stop to Doncaster and/or York. The trains leaving Kings Cross on the half hour generally terminate at Newcastle and serve other intermediate stations such as Grantham, Newark, Retford, Doncaster and Durham as well as Peterborough, York, and Darlington.


The service between Kings Cross and Leeds is generally half-hourly, with trains serving most main intermediate stations.


National Express East Coast operate ten trains per day between Kings Cross and Glasgow. With the upgrade of the West Coast Main Line between London Euston and Glasgow to 125mph now complete, National Express East Coast can't compete with Virgin Trains on this route when it comes to journey times (still 5hrs 30mins compared to the new 4hrs 25min time on the WCML), but they do provide a useful link from Glasgow to Newcastle and York and a secondary route for use when the WCML is closed for engineering work.

Other routesEdit

File:National Express East Coast map.svg


There are three trains per day each way between Kings Cross and Aberdeen, the journey time being just over seven hours. There is also one service per day arriving at Aberdeen from Leeds. These services are operated by HST sets, as the line between Edinburgh and Aberdeen is not electrified.


A daily service operates between Kings Cross and Inverness, called the Highland Chieftain, a journey taking just over eight hours. This route is operated with diesel HSTs, as the line north of Edinburgh is not electrified.


National Express East Coast run the Hull Executive between Hull and Kings Cross, with one morning journey to London and one evening journey to Hull. Since the branch to Hull is not electrified, this route too is operated using diesel HST sets. Hull Trains run additional direct services between Hull and London.


There are two trains per day between Kings Cross and Bradford Forster Square. These are extensions of the Kings Cross–Leeds services and usually utilise the ‘Mallard’ electric sets.


There is a morning train from Skipton and Keighley to Kings Cross with an early evening return. As is the case with the Bradford trains, this is an extension to the Leeds–London service. Though the line to Skipton is electrified throughout, the National Express East Coast service to/from the town is operated using a diesel HST because the electrical infrastructure on the Leeds to Skipton line is insufficient to support a Class 91 locomotive.


There is a Monday-Saturday morning HST departure from Harrogate to Kings Cross. However, there is no return journey so passengers are required to change at Leeds or York on to Northern Rail services to Harrogate.

The Saturday running of this service is the week's only National Express East Coast southbound service from Leeds not to call at Wakefield Westgate. This service departs from Leeds and heads along the Selby line to join the East Coast Main Line at Hambleton.

Future routesEdit


Also as part of the new franchise, National Express East Coast have promised a direct service to the city of Lincoln. This is due to happen by 2010. [2]


The initial performance figures for December (end of third quarter of 2007/8) put National Express at a PPM of 86%[3] for the East Coast route. This figure is just above that of Virgin West Coast which also operates Anglo-Scottish services.

Rolling stock Edit

The new franchise inherited the rolling stock operated by GNER, which encompasses Class 43 diesel locomotives and Mark 3 coaching stock (InterCity 125), and Class 91 electric locomotives and Mark 4 Mallard coaches (InterCity 225). The InterCity 125 rolling stock is currently undergoing an upgrade to Mallard standard. In addition, the Class 43 locomotives are being re-engined as part of a life-extension upgrade. In line with the additional services in 2010, National Express East Coast will hire four rakes of refurbished locomotive hauled Mark 3 coach sets which according to the Department for Transport will be hauled by Class 90 electric locomotives hired from EWS.[4] However, as part of the new franchise agreement, the franchise holder will be required to take part in the Intercity Express Programme, which will see a new high-speed train replace both the 125 and 225 units.

National Express East Coast offers free Wi-Fi to passengers in both first and standard class.[5]

Current fleetEdit

 Class  Image  Type   Top speed   Number   Routes operated   Built 
 mph   km/h 
Class 43 High Speed Train 100px Diesel locomotive 125 200 14 London Kings Cross-Aberdeen

London Kings Cross-Inverness

London Kings Cross-Hull

London Kings Cross-Leeds

London Kings Cross-Glasgow Central

London Kings Cross-Edinburgh

London Kings Cross-Newcastle

London Kings Cross-Skipton

Harrogate-London Kings Cross


1976 – 1982
Class 91 100px Electric locomotive 140 225 31 London Kings Cross-Leeds

London Kings Cross-Edinburgh

London Kings Cross-Glasgow Central

London Kings Cross-Bradford Forster Square

1988 – 1991
Mark 3 coach 100px Passenger carriage 125 200 56 East Coast Main Line 1975 – 1988
Mark 4 coach 100px Passenger carriage 140 225 302 East Coast Main Line 1989 – 1991
100px Driving Van Trailer 140 225 31 East Coast Main Line 1988

Future fleetEdit

 Class  Image  Type   Top speed   Number   Routes operated   Built   Introduction 
 mph   km/h 
Class 90 100px Electric locomotive 110 177 4 (planned) London Kings Cross-Leeds 1987 – 1990 2010
Mark 3 coach 100px Driving Van Trailer 110 177 4 (planned) London Kings Cross-Leeds 1988 2010
100px Passenger carriage 125 200 32 (planned) London Kings Cross-Leeds 1975 – 1988 2010

References Edit

  1. National Express Group (August 14, 2007). East Coast Franchise Press Release. Retrieved on 2007-08-14.
  2. London route 'will boost county'. BBC News (2007-08-15). Retrieved on 2007-08-16.
  3. Template:Citation/core
  4. NationalExpress > WiFi. National Express. Retrieved on 2007-12-09.

External links Edit


Preceded by
InterCity East Coast franchise
Operator of InterCity East Coast franchise
2007 - present