York Set To Be Headquarters For Virgin Trains East Coast
9:51am 11th December 2014
(Updated 1:23pm 11th December 2014)
The city is also set to have a new national rail academy from 2016.
York will remain the headquarters for Virgin Trains East Coast, it was confirmed today.
The news follows the signing of the InterCity East Coast rail franchise contract by the Department for Transport this week.
A Stagecoach-Virgin venture will take over responsibility for running the franchise in March 2015, having been awarded an eight-year franchise.
Martin Griffiths, Chief Executive of Stagecoach Group, said:
"This is a hugely exciting time for the passengers, businesses and communities who will benefit from rail services on the East Coast route. We also have great plans for the committed team of employees that will be part of Virgin Trains East Coast."
"York has a great rail heritage and forms a big part of our plans. As well as continuing to be home to the headquarters for the route, will be opening a new National Academy for Rail Professional Education (NARPE) in 2016, with one of the bases in York."
"While the franchise officially begins in March next year, our team are already planning ahead to build on the strong pride, heritage and success at East Coast. Over the coming months, we will be working closely with employees and the management team to ensure a smooth transition to the new franchise."
"Stagecoach and our partners Virgin see investing in people and delivering great customer service as key to the future. We look forward to welcoming staff into the Stagecoach and Virgin family and making Virgin Trains East Coast a huge success."
Around £140m will be invested under the new franchise in delivering an improved service and a more personalised travel experience for customers, on top of a whole new fleet of high quality trains.
Cllr David Levene, Cabinet Member for Transport, said:
"We fully support this continued investment in the city. It's important that we support and grow our existing talent pool of 5,000 people working in the rail related industry in York."
"This is great news for everyone who wants better main line services and to emphasise that York is a natural home for the rail industry, with ready access to skilled people and other rail organisations."
"We've offered to meet the new operator to discuss how we can work together to improve both rail services and employment opportunities for our city. We hope to meet with them to discuss more on the HQ and academy proposals soon."
Hear more from Councillor Levene here:
York Outer MP Julian Sturdy spoke to Minster FM:
York Central MP Hugh Bayley says its a good decision for passengers:
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