Transport operator FirstGroup has announced that it has procured new trains and a team for First Rail’s new Edinburgh-London service.

The new service will be an open-access venture that will offer high-quality and low-cost direct service connecting Edinburgh and London. It will begin operations late next year.

This rail line is expected to offer electric trains as a cheaper and sustainable mode of transport when compared with air-based travel.

Additionally, the first train of the new five-car Hitachi electric fleet for the new service has been delivered for assembly at the manufacturer’s Newton Aycliffe facility.

The new daily service will operate five trains in each direction between London King’s Cross and Edinburgh, as well as serve Newcastle and Morpeth. It will also offer additional seats on the new Hitachi class 803 trains.

The operator has also announced that it has made senior appointments to the team; Helen Wylde as the managing director and Matthew Lee as the commercial and customer experience director.

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Wylde said: “It’s exciting to be joining First Rail to create a new rail service between Edinburgh, Newcastle and London. This new venture will combine high-quality customer experience with low fares to attract both business and leisure travellers away from planes and coaches and onto our trains.

“We have an exciting eighteen months ahead of us to bring the service to fruition, covering everything from the assembly of our new Hitachi trains in the north-east, manufacturing our specially designed seats for greater comfort and ease in Scotland, designing a digitised service, and meeting as many potential customers and stakeholders on the route as possible, so that we can hear first-hand what they believe would make our service great.”