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Railhub Archive
2013-03-04 EAS-001
East Coast


East Coast on track for first class success

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East Coast

East Coast on track for first class success

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2012-02-23 First class success story as thousands upgrade on East Coast trains (East Coast)


4 March 2013
source East Coast
type Press release

Demand for premium service hits ten year high

Train operator East Coast today confirms a fifty per cent rise in demand for First Class travel on its route in ten years - despite tough economic times.

The news comes as East Coast launches a new campaign to promote the benefits of upgrading to First Class to a new generation of potential customers.

Figures published today by the train operator show that First Class journeys on its trains rose to 2.1 million in 2012, from 1.4 million in 2003.

They also indicate a 370% rise in journeys using the popular First Advance tickets, which give a significant discount to those who plan and book ahead, over the same period.

The growth in First Class travel is contributing to an overall boom in the popularity of rail travel. In 2012 across Britain’s network as a whole, journeys rose to 1.44 billion – the highest for 90 years.

East Coast’s new promotional campaign, under the headline “First Class – For The Chosen Many”, highlights the key benefits of choosing First Class travel, including:

• Complimentary First Class food and drinks service

• Unlimited access to on-board Wi-Fi

• More comfortable and reclining seats

• Extra legroom and space to work or relax during the journey.

Railcard discounts of up to a third are also available on most First Class fares, including First Advance, making the style and comfort of First Class even more affordable. First Class journeys made using a Railcard on the East Coast route have risen by 118% since 2009, from 370,000 to 812,000.

Many passengers are also taking advantage of East Coast’s Weekend First upgrades, which allow passengers holding Standard Advance, Off-Peak or Anytime tickets the chance to travel First Class on payment of a £15 - £25 supplement per single journey.

Journeys using Weekend First upgrades on East Coast trains, which can be bought from the Guard subject to available space, have risen by 19% between 2009 and 2012.

East Coast Head of Marketing Natalie Cowen said: “The figures show clearly that more and more customers are trading up to enjoy First Class travel with us, even during tough economic times.

“People are looking for quality service and best value for money, with East Coast’s First Advance and Weekend First upgrades both proving more popular than ever.

“Our new promotional campaign can now be seen at prominent locations on the East Coast route, and highlights the many benefits of First Class, ranging from legroom you’d normally associate with your living room, to relaxing with a complimentary full English breakfast while enjoying beautiful coast and countryside.

“We look forward to introducing more customers to the comfort and value of First Class travel with East Coast.”

East Coast has introduced a range of improvements to encourage more passengers to upgrade to its premium First Class service, including:

• launching an at-seat complimentary food and drinks service in May 2011. The service has been credited with reversing historic losses of £20 million per annum in train catering under the previous franchise holder, and now sees East Coast serving a million meals per annum – a tenfold rise on the service it replaced

• opening a new First Class Lounge at London King’s Cross station as part of the wider redevelopment of the station. The facility is already proving very popular and is open to customers using First Anytime, First Class Package or First Class Season tickets. Those using First Advance tickets can pay a small £5 supplement to access the Lounge at London King’s Cross, or at seven other principal East Coast stations

• introducing a new First Class Quiet Coach to all its services from May 2011, at the same time as its new timetable which added 117 extra services every weekday and more than three million additional seats to its timetable.

The extra services and complimentary food and drinks service helped East Coast to achieve a major surge in First Class journeys within weeks of their introduction. In the four weeks to 23 July 2011, 173,000 passenger journeys were made in First Class – a rise of 29%, or 39,000 journeys, compared with the same four weeks in 2010.

Today’s new statistics show East Coast First Class journeys broke through the two million barrier in 2011 - the year the new service was launched – for the first time in nine years, and have continued to rise since.

Full details of East Coast’s First Class service are available on its website at: , by calling 08457 225225 or from its staffed stations.


Notes to Editors

Notes to Editors:

Data on annual passenger journeys is based on full calendar years from 2003 onwards, as shown on the attached table.

Contact Information

Media Centre
0845 059 3988

Railhub Archive ::: 2013-03-04 EAS-001


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