From today Edinburgh to London trains will no longer be run by the Great North Eastern Railway – universally known as GNER.
The new franchise holder is National Express East Coast. Somehow N E E C (or even Neec – neek??) doesn’t sound as solid as GNER – though with its plans to rebrand the East Coast Main Line, National Express perhaps considers the previous company’s image to be too ‘stolid’. (NE hopes its tag of NXEC will stick.)
But will cyclists be better or worse off? Probably slightly better. The web site information is clear. There are plans to improve cycle parking at stations controlled by NEEC (not Waverley).
Tandems will still be carried (most train companies don’t) – if you book 2 spaces. It’s now possible to book “bicycle spaces” (still free) on-line, at the time of buying tickets. As some fares have a 10% on-line discount, this is good for people who are able to plan ahead and get sensible/bargain prices for rail travel.
One small (but significant) improvement that NEEC is introducing is free WiFi in 2nd class (previously only free in 1st class).
TRANSform Scotland recently produced a report about the advantages of rail over air which also suggested other improvements that could be introduced.