Virgin and Stagecoach have launched their East Coast franchise this morning with rail minister Claire Perry joining managing director David Horne at London King's Cross. The first train to bear the new livery throughout has formed the 11.00 from London to Edinburgh, and its departure marks the conclusion of a long-running campaign by Virgin Trains to take over on the East Coast route.
Labour has promised that it would start changing the law to allow a public sector operator to compete for rail franchises within 100 days of being elected. The pledge comes as a consortium of Stagecoach and Virgin takes over Intercity East Coast services after more than five years of public ownership. The party's transport secretary Michael Dugher has told an audience in Leeds that there would be a 'level playing field', followed by a 'speedy review of rail franchising to replace it with a system fit for purpose'.
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