Update 16th Nov : The new East Coast Train line company site East Coast
At midnight tonight Directly Operated Railways, a Railway company set up by the Government and the Department of Transport will take over the control of the failing National Express East Coast line. National Express took over the franchise from GNER a few years ago and have come to the conclusion that it won’t be able to meet the commitments it set out to pay £1.4bn for the franchise until 2015. National Express had hoped that it would be able to make the East Coast line profitable but have had a tough time with falling ticket sales during the recession, so we now see the franchise being re-nationalised.
There has been lots of news about the issues surrounding National Express but one thing that they haven’t made clear to the general public is where can you buy the tickets from if you are planning to travel in the future. At the moment I am trying to arrange for Dave and I to travel to London at the end of January for the London Affiliate Conference (LAC) but I’m slightly confused where I need to go for the tickets. The East Coast main line is a really valuable route for us as we can get easily to London within 2 hours from York or Leeds for conferences, meetings and weekends away. What I don’t want to do is book tickets in advance then turn up at the station and end up with an invalid ticket.
When I go to the National Express website it seems that I can still book future tickets but will all that change at midnight? Should I be able to buy a ticket through National Express that they will no longer be running? When I searched for the Directly Operated Railways site with the hope of finding a booking form, you find a page on the Department of Transport with a list of FAQ’s. Plenty of information about the takeover decision and information for the staff, but nothing for the customer. How does the government intend to sell tickets for their new train line if we don’t know where to go? I’m not even sure that if I book a ticket on places like The Trainline I’ll be ok as it still mentions that the service is operated by National Express even if the ticket is in the future.
If anyone has managed to find out a bit more information about what is going on with the tickets I’d appreciate some help and if I find out some more details then I’ll update this post.
Image by adambowie