The loco's new clothes
On Sunday 9th December, GNER is dead, long live National Express East Coast. How do you feel about waving goodbye to the well known livery for the last time? Tell us and we'll publish your thoughts on this page.
East Coast Main Line
Network Rail define the East Coast Main Line as the route that runs from King's Cross railway station in London to Waverley Station in Edinburgh.
GNER has run services on the East Coast Main Line since 1997.
GNER won the right to retain the franchise in 2005 but financial difficulties with its parent company Sea Containers and lower than expected revenues prevented it from paying the promised £1.3 billion in premiums to the Treasury during the life of the franchise.
National Express Group promise a range of improvements including free wi-fi in standard class, faster journey times and 2000 more car parking spaces.
On Sunday 9th December, GNER hands over the East Coast Main Line franchise to National Express East Coast. Gone will be the dark blue livery, red trimmings and Victorian coat of arms - which for many evoked the golden age of rail travel. It makes way for the fresh, modern white and grey of new franchise owners the National Express Group
National Express group told this website that although an interim livery will be in place by Tuesday 12th December 2007, the logistical difficulties of rebranding without disrupting services means the new look will take two and a half years to complete.
Travellers in North Yorkshire have already noticed the removal of the distinctive red stripe from the side of some GNER trains during the week preceding the National Express takeover.
The decision of the National Express group to rebrand rather than operate under the well known GNER brand has been met with surprise by some rail travellers.
Nation Express East Coast livery
One commuter, JM Birnie, voiced the thoughts of many in a letter to the Yorkshire Post newspaper. "Please do not rebrand the locomotives and coaching stock now leased by GNER. I have got used to the present pleasing-to-the-eye livery and most passengers can pick it out from the other clutter in Leeds station. Passengers identify with the brand, the route of the Flying Scotsman."
However, National Express Group defend their decision, saying that the new design was based upon research conducted with 2000 consumers and 250 stake holders. The decision has wider implications than those affecting passengers in North Yorkshire.
The group is also re-branding the rail franchise it operates from Liverpool Street, ditching the 'one' name in favour of National Express East Anglia. Its fleet of coaches will also be adopting the new logo in early 2008.
Philip Haigh, business editor of industry staple Rail magazine believes that how the new operator runs the service will be far more important than the new look of trains and stations.
"The easiest way to build up that brand loyalty is to run a good service. A good reputation will then follow."
last updated: 06/12/07
Have Your Say
What do you think? Will you miss the navy and red of GNER? Or do you welcome the new colours? Or perhaps all you care about is a well run franchise!
dr alan fitter
David F Colley
Billa Abdub Wario 11