New name blocks rail schedule

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The Independent Online
Travellers on the East Coast main line railway have been unable to get timetables for the route for the past month because the new, privatised company is changing its name this week.

The timetable for East Coast trains, which run between King's Cross, Peterborough, York, Newcastle, Edinburgh and Glasgow, has not been published by Sea Containers, which took over services in April, because of the impending change of name. Since 29 September, when the new winter timetable and the previous booklet became obsolete, travellers have been unable to get full information.

Several readers have complained to The Independent because they have been told that a new company was taking over and they had to print new logos. One of the complainants, Robin McMorran of Edinburgh who has been trying to get the timetable from the city's main station, Waverley, for several weeks, said: "Eventually I had to borrow a full railway timetable from a friend and copy the times like some sort of tenth century monk."

The company is due to relaunch tomorrow as Great North Eastern Railway and a spokesman, Laurie Holland, said yesterday: "We can't legally put out documents using the new name until we are officially that company and therefore we took a decision, based on commercial judgement and common sense, not to issue the full timetable until we had relaunched."

He said that had the period between the old timetable expiring and the relaunch being longer, such as six or eight weeks, "we would have printed the timetable using the old logo and name".

Mr Holland stressed that the smaller card timetables for individual routes had been printed with the old name.

He added that there had been a number of complaints: "We knew that there would be some people who would be inconvenienced, but it is a costly booklet and we did not want to waste money."