When Virgin Trains East Coast took over the East Coast operation from Directly Operated Railways they inherited:

  • An excellent loyalty scheme
  • A well staffed operation with high staff morale
  • Reliable ticket machines that let you purchase a ticket for today quickly
  • A website that allowed you to modify tickets, book cycles and also extras such as catering vouchers

When LNER takes over from Virgin Trains East Coast they will inherit:

  • No in-house loyalty scheme
  • Staff morale declining with staff shortages on-board and in the stations
  • Ticket machines that can do more when working but have reliability issues and make the basic tasks complex
  • A website that doesn't allow modifications (need to cancel and rebook), no cycle reservations and no catering vouchers.
  • An app called 'Travel Buddy' that also has stability issues
  • Seatfrog
  • Maintenance issues meaning accessible toilets can be out of order for days on end

So we'd say it's fair not to expect amazing from day 1. VTEC were handed the operation in a good state but LNER will have to pick up the pieces.

So initially we will probably give them a bit of time to get their act together. This will only change if we hear from people working for them saying they are doing the wrong things.