Commuters in Peterborough will today start the see change on the railways as the East Coast main line services go under new management.
Responsibility for the express train services linking London to the north will be assumed by a new consortium of Stagecoach and Virgin, which has vowed a major investment in facilities at Peterborough.
The consortium, called Inter City Railways Ltd (ICRL), takes over from East Coast today with a formal launch event taking place tomorrow (Monday) at King’s Cross rail station in London.
A spokeswoman for ICRL said: “On day one, we’ll have lots of extra staff available at stations to help passengers and passengers will notice that many things will start to be rebranded.
“Rebranding the trains is a bit more time consuming.
“We’ll have a couple done in the full new livery for the launch on day two and then they will gradually all have their new ‘coats’ fitted between March and August.
She added: “On day one, we’ll be publishing a new passenger’s charter and a customer report – The Red Report.
“We’ll also launch the facility for customers to collect either Nectar points or Virgin Flying Club points online, and to use Nectar points towards the cost of train tickets.
“Our people will be wearing new Virgin Trains East Coast Badges and will have new lanyards.
“Lots of posters, information and on board announcements will have been rebranded to reflect the new organisation.”
The consortium of Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin and Stagecoach was announced as the winner of an intense bidding process for the £3.3 billion contract to run rail services on the East Coast Main Line in November last year.
The line has been operated by a taxpayer-owned rail company since 2009.
It is understood the new business will be 90 per cent owned by Stagecoach and the rest by Virgin.
Trains will operate under the ‘Virgin Trains East Coast’ brand.
There will be new trains, which will be 65 new ‘Super Express’ trains from 2018 with an early multi-million-pound train refresh programme for existing fleet.
The consortium has promised a new multi-storey car park at Peterborough plus more services at the city’s rail station.