LCCs on Rail

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  • transtraxman

    A few months ago there was a topic talking about the low cost train services in France. It delved into the whole world of different brands offered on French Rail – with SNCF trying to promote rail travel to the detriment of air traffic.

    SNCF, Ouigo, IDTGV, Inoui. Branding confusion reigns supreme.

    Now it seems that First Group in the UK is trying to offer London to Edinburgh services with intermediate stops at Stevenage, Newcastle and Morpeth, all in four hours. Of the traffic between the two capitals two thirds go by air so First Group are aiming at biting into that cake.The Group already operates 90 services per week between London and Hull (Hull Trains) , and is initially looking at 4 services daily for the Edinburgh service. The service will start in 2021 with new trains from Hitachi. The London departure station has not been mentioned but is expected to be Kings Cross.

    “New low-fare intercity rail service set to challenge budget airlines”. (Travel Weekly – 22-3-19)

    It could be a very interesting development by the open access operator. Unfortunately it would not be possible on the WCML as it is overcrowded already. The GWML is another question.

    “FirstGroup finalises £100m order for Hitachi trains as plans for London-Edinburgh rail link move forward” (Rail Technology Magazine – 22.03.19)


    It certainly is an interesting development.

    Two of the planned en route stops Stevenage and Morpeth) would meet the needs of air passengers currently using Stansted and Newcastle airports.

    My concern is that the ECML is congested at the southern end (between Doncaster and London) and Network Rail is behind schedule with infrastructure improvements.

    Will these be completing by 2021 in time for First Group’s new service ?

    I ask because The Scotsman reveals that LNER’s plans for regular four hour London-Edinburgh journeys next year have had to be postponed until 2021.


    I have a concern that private operations will further confuse the public, particularly foreigners, with too many offers.


    First Group are a total joke…..

    If the government grants them an operating license it’ll just re-enforce my view that the needs/rights of the consumer are a very low priority.

    They struggle to run our local buses successfully , a disjointed overpriced shambles with a timetable that should have a health warning attached to it !

    So exactly how they can run a rail franchise , bearing in mind, they ‘ve already failed spectacularly in Scotland seems to me a pipe dream to far.

    It pains me to right the above, because I firmly believe that Scottish companies should be encouraged to grow.


    LCC operators are to encouraged anywhere on the UK rail network in my humble opinion, as most fares verge on the ridiculous considering the miles travelled.

    I used to enjoy getting £2 weekend and £10 off peak fares on South West Trains while Megatrain still sold them. Anyone know why they stopped selling them on SWT?

    I always choose rail over air to Edinburgh – Kings X to Waverley for around £80 return in advance with unlimited luggage and no airport security/checkin will always be a no brainer unless you live near an airport.

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