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Digital Subscriptions > Railnews > November 2015 > Virgin Trains East Coast: six months in

Virgin Trains East Coast: six months in

The Virgin Trains East Coast franchise was launched early this year, after a vigorous competition for a contract which had been operated by the government since 2009. Now, six months after the launch, VTEC managing director David Horne discusses what has been achieved so far.

Guest Opinion

David Horne, managing director Virgin Trains East Coast

IF you’re a fan of Downton Abbey or you like to switch-on to The X Factor, chances are you’ll have witnessed the launch of our new marketing campaign – Be Bound for Glory.

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About Railnews

The tempestous Network Rail evidence session held by the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee in late October makes the lead in the new edition of Railnews. The Committee has been deeply critical of Network Rail's management of its projects with particular attention being paid to the Great Western Main Line, where costs have trebled and the work itself is behind schedule. Another problem, but perhaps a happier one, is the overcrowding on the recently reopened Borders Railway. This reached such a point during the October mid-term school holidays in Scotland that replacement buses had to be used, and we also reveal that the large car park at the Tweedbank terminus already needs an 'overflow' area. There have been several openings in October, including the new station at Oxford Parkway and the Thameslink depot at Three Bridges, as well as the modernised Manchester Victoria. The National Training Academy for Rail in Northampton was also declared formally open by rail minister Claire Perry, who made an impassioned plea during her speech for the railway to look forward, saying: “This is an industry for the future – not the past”. British Transport Police are seeking a youth who crossed the tracks at a station only moments before a fast train ran through, while a bid to replace the Victorian crossing gates at Plumpton in Sussex has hit a snag -- a judge has granted the local council an injunction against Network Rail carrying out the work on planning grounds. In other news, trams should be running on the first part of Manchester's Second City Crossing before Christmas, Virgin Trains and Stagecoach Group have rebranded the Flying Scotsman and also issued a joint call for franchises to be replaced by licensed operators on intercity routes, while National Express has signed two more operating contracts in Germany.

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