The long-resisted re-privatisation of the East Coast Main Line happened on March 1, and the extrovert Virgin brand is making itself felt.
Ninety per-cent of the business is actually Stagecoach but the two have worked together on the West Coast line for many years.
Time will tell what the effect will be of having trains on both the West Coast and East Coast lines in Virgin’s colours – whether the competition between them will continue, which seems unlikely, or whether we shall experience the monopoly effect.
The real competition for the Anglo-Scottish traffic is of course Air, so perhaps we shall find more effort going into that.
The publicity for the new East Coast franchise is emphasising the advantages of the new trains to be introduced in 2018, which, by the time slippage has occurred, will probably actually be 2020. As with new car designs, a great deal is made of the beauty of their appearance.