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Monday 10 December, 2007

National Express

Inter City East Coast Launch

National Express Group PLC
10 December 2007

10th December 2007
                           National EXPRESS GROUP PLC


National Express Group PLC ('National Express' or 'the Group') signalled a new
era in passenger rail services with the launch yesterday of its National Express
East Coast franchise which will provide services on the East Coast Main Line
between London, Yorkshire, the North East of England and Scotland.

This new franchise, which runs until 2015, will become the standard bearer for
the Group's explicit promise to passengers to 'make travel simpler'. To deliver
that promise the Group will invest almost £44 million to grow the business and
significantly improve the total customer experience.

National Express Group Chief Executive Richard Bowker said 'We are privileged to
be taking over Inter City East Coast, Britain's premier railway, which is known
for the quality of its service by its many loyal customers. Our combined
strengths of industry leading operational performance, excellent customer
service, innovation and sheer hard work give us confidence that we can make
National Express East Coast a truly world class railway.'

From Day One customers on the service will enjoy an improved passenger
experience. For the first time WiFi internet access will be provided free in
Standard Class (as well as First), whilst a 100-day joint improvement plan,
already agreed with Network Rail, is set to significantly improve the
punctuality of services. Within months of launch on-board catering will feature
a more contemporary range of dishes and snacks, complementing the option of
restaurant dining with hot food served at seat in Standard.

Innovations in ticketing and information will make it simpler for customers to
get the right ticket at the right price and to plan journeys more effectively.
Plans include: real time running information accessible by mobile phone; print
at home tickets; a website which will enable total journey booking (including
parking and onward connections) in a single visit; and Smartcard ticketing.

Additionally, more and faster services are scheduled. From 2010, with the
addition of five more trains to the fleet, there will be a further 25 services
providing 14,000 extra seats each weekday. London-Leeds will take 2 hours and
London-York 1 hour 45 minutes, whilst the London-Edinburgh services journey time
will be reduced to less than 4 hours 20 minutes on key services.

At stations more than £10 million will be invested to improve waiting rooms and
information provision, increase CCTV cover, add more cycle spaces and increase
car parking by 33 per cent.

National Express is aiming to make East Coast Britain's greenest railway. A
predicted 17 per cent reduction in fuel consumption will be targeted across the
entire service and a number of stations will benefit from water conservation
measures and wind turbine installation. Improved recycling and reduction in
landfill waste will also be targeted.

The business will be run by a dedicated management team based in York and led by
Managing Director David Franks who also retains his role as Head of National
Express Trains Division.

National Express also announces today that it has separately completed the
purchase of the Sea Containers Rail Services Ltd call centre at Newcastle. Under
the terms of the deal, more than 200 employees at the centre in Barons House,
together with the assets will transfer to a new company National Express
Services Ltd which will be a subsidiary within the Group.


For further information, please contact:

Nicola Marsden/Alison Flynn
National Express Group                     0207 529 2000

Notes to Editors

Our franchise plans include:

Further development of the award-winning onboard service:

   • Free WiFi in Standard (as well as in First) from Day One
   • Modernised catering offer, including lighter options, from mid-2008
   • Restaurant service retained
   • Faster service for shorter trips
   • Hot meals served at seat in Standard

Applying our expertise and best practise to improving punctuality and

   • 100-day joint improvement plan with Network Rail from Day One
   • PPM 90.1% by January 2010
   • PPM 91.3% by franchise end in 2015

Delivering simplicity and accessibility through innovation in ticketing and

   • Attracting 10 million extra passengers
   • Mobile phone real time information and ticketing and print at home
   • Electronic information totem poles
   • State-of-the-art website, trading price and time to secure best deal/
     seat, parking and onward connection booking
   • Smartcard ticketing
   • Average fare increases: RPI+1% - regulated, RPI+2.1% - unregulated

Further development of the fleet:

   • Retain existing fleet with £8.2 million investment package
   • Completion of HST re-engineering and refurbishment
   • New National Express East Coast livery (progressive roll-out to support
     service continuity)
   • Five additional Class 90/Mark 3 sets for 2010 timetable supported by
     £9.5 million investment
   • Test-bed for new Inter City Express train from 2012

More capacity, more speed - from December 2010:

   • Increase from 136 to 161 services per week day
   • Five trains an hour to/from Kings Cross
   • A new two-hourly direct Lincoln-London service and an extra train to
    York every other hour throughout the day
   • 14,000 additional seats daily
   • London-Leeds in 2 hours; London-York in 1 hour 45; London-Edinburgh in
    under 4 hours 20

£10 million+ investment for stations:

   • £7.4 million investment in waiting and information facilities
   • £0.5 million investment in CCTV
   • £2.0 million investment in 33% car parking increase, with smart payment
   • Additional cycle spaces
   • Major redevelopment schemes in partnership e.g. York, Peterborough

Delivering an environmental dividend:

   • Significant contribution to modal shift (from car and air)
   • 17% reduction in fuel consumption (28% per passenger kilometre)
   • Environmental initiatives at depots to reduce waste and increase
   • Water harvesting and wind turbines at appropriate stations

Building on partnerships:

   • With investment in employees through training, development and life-long


   • With local authorities - particularly where National Express runs the
   • With PTEs, RDAs, economic, environmental and tourism bodies
   • With Network Rail and other industry bodies

                      This information is provided by RNS
            The company news service from the London Stock Exchange