The East Coast Main Line is being renationalised, and here’s how it’ll look

The UK Government is to renationalise the East Coast Mainline, one of the busiest rail lines in Britain.

In an unprecedented move, the Department for Transport has relieved Stagecoach of its franchise to run trains on the East Coast, stepping in to take the reigns with a self-appointed ‘Operator of Last Resort’.

And it turns out, the new name for trains on the East Coast isn’t so new at all, actually.

Trains on the East Coast will run under the LNER brand from 24 June 2018.

We don’t know much about the new brand just yet, aside from the name and that it will feature a decidedly pointy logo, unveiled today (16 May). Oh, and it’ll largely use similar colours to its predecessor, in order to minimise costs of rebranding.

With LNER (or London and North Eastern Railway), the Government revives a name last seen on UK rails exactly 70 years ago. LNER was the second largest of the ‘Big Four’ rail companies in Britain, before they were succeeded by British Rail after being nationalised on 1 January 1948.

So, what will become of Virgin Trains brand?

Well, that lives on for now, over on the West Coast mainline – but it’ll disappear altogether from the East Coast, along with it (eventually) that sleek, Best Impressions-designed livery.

It remains to be seen what will happen to Azuma, the concept Virgin created for its Hitachi IntercityExpress (IEP) units, due to enter service on the ECML later this year. Will LNER stick with the name and livery created by VTEC, or will they snuff it out altogether?

Virgin Azuma

What do you think about the LNER brand? Let us know in the comments below, or follow us on Twitter – @transportdsn.

Image credits: LNER



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21 Responses

  1. Although Iam a fan of the Virgin brand and the livery used for the East Coast, I can feel some excitement as the government has put some thought into the name this time rather then simply calling it East Coast and using a bland grey livery.

    My thoughts when looking at LNER on the gov website that it might look something like GNER, because of the train crewe in th picture wearing a navy blue outfit with red lining around the outfit.

  2. I have always thought the Virgin East Coast livery to be brash and vulgar, rather ‘common’ in fact, so I hope the new LNER company will adopt a more tasteful style; pity if the have to stick to red; LNER apple green would be so much better. Also I hope the dreadful Azuma name disappears. Why do we have to use strange foreign words for our trains? We can do so much better.

    1. Hmm. I’m not sure about apple green for LNER – I do think that you can be too ‘over sentimental’. Some things are better left in the past! The red is smart, modern, and it’ll be an easy ‘quick fix’ for the changeover.

  3. I think the ‘points’ of the ‘N’ should have been bottom left and top right, to suggest pointing to London and the North East. Looks a bit south east to north west as it is presently.

  4. The point of the N iam afraid have nothing to do with direction otherwise it would be pointing North East to SouthWest.

    It’s just to make the initial stand out.

  5. 2 weeks today LNER London North Eastern Railway, a classic iconic name on the railways, before I was born will re appear on announcements, Arrival & Departure displays.

    Not the same one as before
    1948, but the name will be back.

    Interesting to see if any changes other then the name of the current operator will take place.

    I love the Virgin red livery, but hope something better then the livery of South Western Railway is chosen, if a livery change for the LNER goverment run rail franchise be needed.

  6. Hmmm just seen a report online from the independent that 64% of passengers support renationalisation of the railways.

    Iam not excited about the East Coast Mainline taken back under public ownership, goverment run.

    Just excited about what the LNER brand will bring.

    For those steam enthusiasts I wonder what their thoughts are in those days when the railways were privately run.

    By then when the railways were later nationalized the steam era had almost gone.

    I love SNCF and know that it is goverment run, but I cant see it working here again.

    Think of all the investment in NEW trains that has taken place since Big Names like Virgin came along.

    Of course the day Richard Branson did start running trains, he wasn’t promising to deliver overnight as these changes take time.

    Today the railways in Britain are like the airline industry competing against one another which is good for passengers.

    Just like Hulls Trains and Grand Central competing with Virgin if they do stop at certain East Coast Mainline stations.

    The government has made it clear, rail investment is to expensive for it to take control of.

  7. Interesting in Todays Railways Magazine it say’s many people are hopeing on Apple Green, Teak or Garter Blue, but a decision hasn’t been made yet.

    In Rail Express it says the rail livery of Virgin Trains will continue to be used.

    And the name LNER will remain after the East Coast Mainline is reprivatized in 2020

  8. Ok so they have started to put up the LNER Branding at Newark Northgate & Retford stations, as well as others I guess.

    But only on the signs for the boarding point of each coach.

    See it on Fabe’s Railway Adventures on YouTube.

  9. Ok so they have started to put up the LNER Branding at Newark Northgate & Retford stations, as well as others I guess.

    But only on the signs for the boarding point of each coach.

    See it on Fabe’s Railway Adventures on YouTube.

  10. In just 5 days time LNER will replace Virgin Trains East Coast.

    Excited about the legendary name brought back as it didn’t exist when I was born.

    I think it’s a great idea to save on name changes everytime and just stick with names like GWR, Scotrail, LNWR, GER.

    Like in Scotland the livery always stays the same now and the legendary name Scotrail, no matter who it’s run by.

    The name yes keep the same, but I do like to see livery changes when a NEW operator comes along.

    So many compare privatization of now with nationalizing the railways, but would they of wanted the same thing to happen which did in the steam era.

    Were they very excited that morning to wake upto British Rail.

  11. Wow the LNER branding is spreading around so quickly now even before the launch.

    Never seen this this happen before.

    Seen on twitter station trolleys already in the LNER colours.

    I like red with black, but I hope it’s not red & grey as it appears on some station signs like the car park sign at Peterborough.

    I prefer the picture that of an class 800 Azuma in red and black, that someone did an artists impression of.

    Not left grey with red lettering on it.

    I mean would you like a grey car or grey ferrari.

    I prefer some colour, or silver over grey.

    This time I really feel the excitement of a NEW operator taking over even though it’s actually being run by the government

    Very happy with the LNER name though.
    It’s even appearing on posters of places or landmark attractions and fits in very well.

    Hint of GNER in the uniforms, although I think the red coats of Virgin like Butlins stood out more.

  12. Cant belive how quickly the LNER branding has rapidly spread across stations on the East Coast Mainline day’s before the launch.

    Has any private operator done this before or the goverment done this last time when it was going to be called East Coast.

    It reminds me of the days when British Rail had posters everywhere for the APT & Intercity 125.

    Must be the iconic name LNER

    Normally rebranding takes months although National Express did have a team on the day of the launch down at London King’s Cross where white tape was quiclkly rolled over the red GNER stripes on train carriages with National Express on it before the train departed again.

    It looks like the NEW trains will not be red & black after all, but left in drab grey with red lettered LNER branding on them.

    For the current fleet just a removal of the Virgin logo and LNER instead in white suits the trains very well.

  13. So today is the last day of Virgin Trains
    East Coast.

    Just been at Newark Northgate.
    Already they are putting LNER on the departure screens, and posters along the platforms now.

    I saw LNNGR.
    I presume each station with have it’s own name at each station on a poster like this inbetween the LNER posters

    London Newark Northgate Railway.

  14. London North Eastern Railway (LNER) should extend their franchise and to bring in more new services including Middlesborough, Scarborough, Redcar, Hartlepool, Huddersfield and have introduced new service to Aberdeen, Perth, Stirling, Inverness, Lincoln, Harrogate and Bradford Forester Square.

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