East Coast Franchise

Changes to the East Coast Mainline services

You will have heard that from 24th June, London North Eastern Railway will be taking over from Virgin Trains East Coast, running the East Coast Mainline services.

Tickets are still valid. Your tickets are still valid and you can still use them whether you are travelling before or after the change of operator.

Your travel plans won’t be affected. Tickets can still be purchased in the same way and train times will stay the same, even though the operator will change.

You can continue to book tickets through Virgin Trains East Coast until midnight on 23rd June.

From 24th June tickets will be available on the London North Eastern Railway website at www.lnerailway.co.uk

Questions? Please contact Virgin Trains East Coast Customer Service Team.

By telephone:
03457 225 333

By post:
Virgin Trains East Coast
NE23 1WG

Or by email:


Q. Is my ticket still valid?
Yes it is. All tickets bought are still valid for the dates shown on the ticket. This includes all season tickets and all pre-purchased tickets.

Q. Will my ticket for future travel still be valid on London North Eastern Railway (LNER) services?
Yes it is. All tickets bought for future travel will still be valid for the dates shown on the ticket.

Q. What happens if I want to buy a ticket in advance for a journey with London North Eastern Railway (LNER)?
You can still buy and book tickets for future travel in the same way you do now via www.virgintrainseastcoast.com.Tickets bought for travel before the change in operator will be accepted on London North Eastern Railway (LNER) services.

Q. Will there be any changes to ticket prices?
There will be no immediate changes to ticket prices. Any future changes in price will be in line with normal market practice.

Q. I have travel vouchers from a previous refund. Will these be honoured by London North Eastern Railway (LNER)?
Yes, you can still use your travel vouchers. They will remain valid up to their expiry date.

Q. My journey is partly on Virgin Trains and partly on another train operator, is my ticket valid?
Yes, nothing will change. All valid tickets will continue to be accepted as they would have been on Virgin Trains East Coast services.

Q. I have a ticket for Grand Central or Hull Trains. Am I affected by today’s announcement?
Your ticket(s) is still valid and you do not need to change your journey plans.

Q. Will timetables change as a result of the takeover?
No, trains will continue to run as normal and no disruption is expected as a result of the change in operator. The timetable and train times scheduled will remain the same under London North Eastern Railway (LNER).

Any planned engineering works will still go ahead, however, so services will be impacted on those dates as planned. You should check the Virgin Trains East Coast timetable information before you travel for journey updates.

Q. Will I still be able to claim compensation if my train is delayed?
Yes, you are still entitled to claim compensation for journeys that are delayed by 30 minutes or more on the route. You can find out more about Delay Repay here.

Information about claiming compensation for delayed London North Eastern Railway (LNER) trains will be available on this website once we have started operating the service.

Q. Will food and drink still be available on the train?
Yes the catering on trains will carry on as normal.

Q. Can I still bring my bike?
Yes the arrangements for carrying bikes, luggage, dogs etc. will stay the same.

Q. What about seat reservations?
Just like your tickets, your reservation will stay the same and remain valid.

Q. I have booked assisted travel. Do I need to re-book?
No you do not need to rebook. All your travel arrangements will all be carried forward and the change of operator will not affect your journey.

Q. I have an outstanding compensation claim with Virgin Trains East Coast. Will I still receive a compensation payment?
Passengers will continue to be able to claim delay compensation from Virgin Trains East Coast until their franchise ends. The Operator of Last Resort (OLR) will deal with delay claims from that date onwards regardless of the date of travel to which it relates. Any other claims for compensation, such as claims arising out of accidents at stations, will be handled by the OLR regardless of the date that they relate to.


Q. Are there any immediate changes from today?
No nothing will change immediately. Until transfer to London North Eastern Railway (LNER), Virgin Trains East Coast will continue to operate the services you use as normal.

Q. What will change on transfer to London North Eastern Railway (LNER)?
There will be no change to the running of the trains. Services will continue to operate as usual and there will be no impact on customers.

Following the change of operator, trains on the East Coast Main Line will operate as LNER, rather than Virgin Trains East Coast.

Q. What is happening to the staff who work for Virgin Trains East Coast?
People who are directly employed by Virgin Trains East Coast will transfer over to London North Eastern Railway (LNER) - it will be no different from a normal franchise change. No disruption is expected to services as a result of this transfer and you will continue to receive a high quality service from the experienced staff.

Q. Will the train company name change?
Yes, Virgin Trains East Coast trains will become London North Eastern Railway (LNER).

Q. Will the trains look any different?
The trains will gradually transform to display London North Eastern Railway (LNER) branding. There is not expected to be any disruption to services as a result of this change of brand.

Q. How can I contact you?
If you have any questions that we haven’t answered here or that are about current services or your tickets for travel before or after the change in operator please continue to contact Virgin Trains East Coast at www.virgintrainseastcoast.com.


Q. What is the Intercity East Coast Franchise?
The Intercity East Coast Franchise operates intercity services on the East Coast Mainline route between London Kings Cross to Hull, Leeds, Harrogate, York, Newcastle, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Inverness and Aberdeen.

The Intercity East Coast Franchise has been operated by Virgin Trains East Coast since 2015. Virgin Trains East Coast is owned 90% by Stagecoach plc and 10% by Virgin Trains Group.

Q. What is happening to the Intercity East Coast Franchise?
The Department for Transport has set up a new publically owned operating company, London North Eastern Railway Ltd (LNER), to run the trains that are currently operated by Virgin Trains East Coast.

Last updated:   16 May 2018