Get details on the Virgin and First Group East Coast Intercity Express routes.
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If you want to get anywhere to the North of England by broadly following the East coast of the UK by train, you'll most likely be using a Virgin Trains East Coast service.
It's an electrified route which takes you from London to Edinburgh, taking in such cities and towns as Peterbororough, Doncaster, Wakefield, Leeds, York, Darlington, and Newcastle. North of Edinburgh locations such as Aberdeen and Inverness are served by diesel trains
Virgin took over the franchise for provision of ECML services in March of 2015.
Prior to the introduction of high speed trains on HS1, the ECML carried the fastest Intercity Express trains on UK routes mainly due to the electrified track of course, but aided by the fact that many sections are straight and flat particularly through Lincolnshire and Cambridgeshire.
Virgin plan to introduce IEP/Hitachi Intercity Express trains from 2018, with speeds expected to equal and potentially surpass the current Intercity trains that serve the routes. The ECML routes for the Virgin Azuma IEPs will of course be generally the same, though some additional services are expected to be introduced as the benefits of more capacity and faster overall journey times are realised.
Read more about the history and planned future changes and improvements of the ECML on the Wikipedia page.
In mid March 2016 the first fully liveried Virgin Azuma train pulled into London's Kings Cross station on its inaugural trip, to be greeted in person by Richard Branson.
It's the first in a line of 65 Intercity Express Class 800 or Class 801 trains, either fully electric or bi-mode electric/diesel. The full fleet is expected to be in operation on East Coast routes by 2020, comprising of 13 nine-car Class 800/1's, 10 five-car Class 800/2 bi-modes, 12 five-car 801s, and 30 nine-car Class 801 electric multiple unit IEPs.
Commuters on the services will enjoy speeds of 125mph, with the potential for the trains to run at 140mph if necessary track improvements can be made.