GNER No More

Posted by chdot on December 9, 2007

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.

3 Responses to “GNER No More”

  1. Craig said

    FYI: the usual abbreviation for National Express East Coast is NXEC.

    And you can book a bike online on the new GNER/NXEC ticket booking system. Yes, only at the same time as buying a ticket, but its a big improvement on the previous system from TheTrainline.

    (note you can also use the NXEC ticket booking system to buy tickets and book bikes on other train services, including FirstScotrail)

  2. Sorry -I’m a bit cycnical.

    Unfortunately there’s more to running a railway than a neat web site and re-painting the same old trains again.

    ‘Tandems will still be carried (most train companies don’t) – if you book 2 spaces.’ Can’t find any reference anywhere on site – maybe I’m not looking hard enough.

    GNER actually tried to get rid of ‘non standard’ bikes with there half hearted ‘ban’ on carrying recumbents.
    They weren’t really that keen on tandems either as they didn’t fit the racks that they had commissioned.
    Strange as everyone thought of them as the company that was pro carrying tandems. In reality they fitted the wrong racks to all trains (oops). The one’s used on the 30 year old HSTs in Scotland now have a huge short vertical bike rack in the guards van to deter tandem users. This is in line with the policy of putting people off taking bikes on a train.

    These old trains also pollute very badly in my view although I believe that they are being improved slightly (!). The answer is of course to electrify north using the large amounts of green power that Scotland is able to produce in the Highland area. We will soon have the bizarre spectacle of rows of pylons heading south whilst the main railway is using fossil fuels. I reckon though that the A9 will be a motorway long before that happens…
    (See how easily I go off subject when companies are just trying to do a little PR!)

    Well done though for doing web bookings – a process started by GNER years ago. Hope the system will work. If it does it will make the start of family holidays such as the example below a lot easier. ScotRail might even raise their game and allow online bookings and four bikes to be booked on long distance trains.

  3. gner said

    […] trains will no longer be run by the Great North Eastern Railway – universally known as GNER. … the tunnel some quarter of a man in the tunnel on the run, making jokes about outrunning the […]

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