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22nd May 2012

Harrogate-London Trains have had a successful first year

The new everyday return train service from Kings Cross to Harrogate has just completed its first year of operation with very good results. East Coast Trains say that over 43,000 passengers have used the Harrogate leg of the direct Kings Cross services during its first year.

The evening return from Kings Cross to Harrogate was restored on 22nd May 2011 after extensive lobbying by Harrogate Chamber of Trade & Commerce, supported by Harrogate Borough Council and many other local organisations.

Chamber Chief Executive Brian Dunsby said that this was the first new rail service to Harrogate for over 25 years and it has clearly been welcomed, not only by Harrogate business people and local residents returning from trips to London, but even more importantly by the thousands of business and leisure visitors coming to Harrogate from London, from the South-East of England and from East Anglia.

Brian said that over 60 years ago Harrogate enjoyed a frequent London-Harrogate-Edinburgh Pullman Car service with up to 10 trains per day. This was cut back in stages until Harrogate had just one direct London service, south bound, Monday to Saturday mornings only. The new northbound service from London to Harrogate was the first NEW service TO Harrogate for over 25 years. East Coast was also persuaded by the Chamber to operate a new direct service in each direction on Sundays, which has proved very popular in both directions during the past year.

Looking forward, Harrogate Chamber has asked East Coast Trains to examine the possibility of making the Harrogate-London journey times shorter by reducing the station delays en route. The Chamber has also asked the Department for Transport to include in their forthcoming ECML Franchise Specification a new early morning service from Kings Cross via Leeds to Harrogate and a new evening return from Harrogate to Kings Cross.

The new East Coast Harrogate services formed part of their complete upgrade of services between London, Yorkshire and Scotland, as outlined in the following East Coast News release which marks the completion of their first year of operation with new schedules and improved complimentary First Class catering service.

East Coast News Release

EAST COAST CELEBRATES THE BEST OF BRITISH ON ITS ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY

Train operator marks the launch of its timetable and First Class complimentary food and drink service one year on

As Her Majesty the Queen makes final preparations for her Jubilee celebrations, East Coast is celebrating an anniversary of its own - the first birthday of its timetable and First Class complimentary food and drink service, which launched on 22 May 2011.

To mark the occasion and to get is passengers in the mood, East Coast is revamping its First Class Menu for summer following a patriotic theme, in-keeping with the Queen's Jubilee, including old favourites such as its Great British Breakfast, with new arrivals such as jacket potatoes and coronation chicken, posh pork pies with piccalilli and Eton mess - all fit for a right royal celebration.

The introduction of the newly revamped menu on Monday 28 May follows closely behind the one year anniversary of the introduction of East Coast's new timetable and complimentary food and drinks in First Class.

East Coast Managing Director Karen Boswell said: "The introduction of our new timetable and First Class complimentary service on 22 May 2011 was a great achievement for the business and we are really proud of the hard work and dedication of our staff who have contributed so much to its success."

East Coast launched the biggest timetable change on the route in over 20 year son 22 May 2011. This saw the introduction of 19 new weekday and 22 new weekend services, including its direct Edinburgh and Newcastle to London 'Flying Scotsman' service, a new daily direct service between London and Lincoln, and a new seven days-a-week service between London and Harrogate.

Karen Boswell added: "The launch date was a truly momentous occasion when we unveiled the fantastic new 'Flying Scotsman' service, which runs in just four hours from Edinburgh to London and two hours 37 minutes from Newcastle to the capital.

"This has been a really popular service and marks a new era in the new 150-year history of the 'Flying Scotsman'.

"The extra services fro 22 May provided an additional 10,800 seats per weekday for passengers and offered improved journey times, better connections at our key station, and a standardised clock-face timetable, making it easier to use and more memorable to use.

"Improvements to First Class, including better Wi Fi and the introduction of a Quiet Coach and our complimentary food and drinks service, have proved really popular, with a 21% overall increase in the number travelling First Class in 2011-2012.

"We have seen a 31% increase in First Class passenger journeys on our Leeds to London services - and a massive 39% increase on our flagship London to Edinburgh route.

"Since the complimentary service was introduced, we have served four million cups of tea and coffee, 120,000 bacon sandwiches and 150,000 Great British Breakfasts to our First Class passengers."

Passengers wishing to sample the newly revamped menu will be able to enjoy dishes from Monday 28 May where they will be able to try a taste of summer with the new dishes.