The head of the new company which will take over responsibility for running rail services on the East Coast mainline next year has been confirmed by Stagecoach and Virgin.
David Horne, currently Managing Director of Stagecoach-owned East
Midlands Trains, has been appointed to play a leading part in the
mobilisation and transition arrangements for the new InterCity East
Coast franchise which is to be operated by Stagecoach and Virgin from
He will take up the role from next month and, subject to the
commencement of the franchise award as envisaged, would become Managing
Director of Virgin Trains East Coast when the franchise starts.
David has more than 25 years experience in the rail industry, having
started his career in 1988 as a ticket office clerk in Cornwall. He has
also held senior positions within South West Trains and Virgin Trains.
David led the successful bid on behalf of Stagecoach for the East
Midlands Trains franchise in 2007. In his time at East Midlands Trains,
David has been responsible for delivering the UK's most punctual long
distance services over a five year period which has also seen
significant increases in customer satisfaction. East Midlands Trains
was named Passenger Operator of the Year at the National Rail Awards
earlier this year.
David (42) currently lives in Nottinghamshire with his wife and two-year-old son.
Patrick McCall, Senior Partner, Virgin Group, said: "We are looking
forward to taking on the East Coast Mainline in spring next year and
have a number of new initiatives ready to launch under the Virgin brand.
The appointment of David Horne as Managing Director of InterCity East
Coast will greatly help us accelerate these plans."
Speaking on his appointment, David Horne said: "I feel very privileged
to be given the opportunity to lead this major new franchise. I've
travelled on East Coast on many occasions over the years and have seen
first-hand the level of pride the team have and the focus on delivering a
great service for customers.
"Over 20 million journeys are made every year on this franchise which
connects some of the UK's most important cities and it plays a key role
in the local communities it serves. There are some really innovative
plans for the future which will see investment in our people, in
delivering more for our customers and will provide better support for
our local communities.
"I'm really excited about the future for Virgin Trains East Coast and
I'm looking forward to meeting the team and getting started on the next
phase of the journey.”
The new Virgin Trains East Coast franchise will start in March 2015 and
is planned to run until 31 March 2023, with the option for a one-year
extension at the Department for Transport's discretion. Trains will
operate under the ‘Virgin Trains East Coast' brand and the franchise
will be managed by Inter City Railways, a venture between Stagecoach and
Virgin. Plans are now well underway to ensure a smooth transition to
the new franchise, and it has recently been confirmed that the Head
Office will remain in York.
Over £140 million will be invested in the new franchise delivering major
improvements for customers. Stagecoach and Virgin have exciting plans
to transform the on-train experience and deliver a more personalised
service, with at-seat food ordering from the buffet car and hot food
available to passengers in standard class. A new Nectar loyalty scheme
will be launched and it will be easier to buy tickets and make seat
reservations. Passengers will also benefit from new trains, an improved
timetable with faster journeys and better connections, more services to
new destinations, better value fares, new technology and a range of
station and accessibility enhancements.
Jake Kelly has been appointed Managing Director Designate of East
Midlands Trains. He has previously worked as a director of the company
and joins from the South West Trains-Network Rail Alliance where he has
worked since 2010 in the roles of Commercial Director, Customer Service
Director and more recently as Development Director.