Open access operator aiming to launch new London-Edinburgh service in 2016

Alliance Rail Holdings has unveiled plans to resurrect the Great North Eastern Railway (GNER) brand and launch a new ‘high-speed’ service between London King’s Cross and Edinburgh in 2016.

The company, which is owned by Arriva, has said it hopes to run nine-car Pendolino trains on the East Coast main line, cutting journey times from an average of four hours 20 minutes to three hours 43 minutes.

Announcing the plans, Alliance Rail Holdings said: “Passengers won’t have to wait 20 years for the completion of HS2 to see significant reductions in journey times to the North East and Scotland.”

A consultation will now be held with rail industry stakeholders before a formal application is submitted to the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR).

Network Rail will also have to confirm that there is adequate capacity to operate the service before trains will be able to run.

Ian Yeowart, managing director of Alliance Rail Holdings, said: “With the announcement of these plans, the delivery of the most significant change on the ECML since the introduction of the iconic High Speed Trains (HST) has moved a step closer.

“The significant reduction in journey times will attract many airline passengers who will now have faster city centre to city centre journeys.”

Following discussions with Alstom, GNER appears to have opted for the Pendolino as its preferred train platform.

The new rolling stock and would be privately funded and with a potential maximum speed of 140 mph, could reduce journey times between Edinburgh and London to just three-and-a-half hours, GNER has said.