The new East Coast franchise differs from those for ScotRail and for the Caledonian Sleepers in that it starts on the 1st of March. It was announced on the 27th November that it was won by a 90% Stagecoach and 10% Virgin Trains consortium to be known as Inter City Railways Ltd.
In view of the fact that Virgin and Stagecoach already run the West Coast Main Line services, an inquiry has been opened by the Competition and Markets Authority and its initial findings are due by 6th February.
The new MD is to be David Horne and I believe he is already on the case to improve the catering, not least on the Highland Chieftain, a train which serves Stagecoach's HQ city of Perth. There has been some uncertainty over what catering infrastructure would be built in to the new IEP trains, but fears that standard class would no longer have a buffet car were quashed in a statement by ICR on 7th January.