Virgin Trains East Coast (Vtec) said it will increase rail’s share of the 3 million annual passengers between Edinburgh and London from one third to at least half within seven years.
The bold claim is certain to trigger a fightback from airlines, especially now that low-fares leader Ryanair has resumed flights between the cities, competing with British Airways, EasyJet and Flybe.
Air overtook rail between Edinburgh and London in the 1980s and became dominant with the growth of low-cost airlines in the 1990s,
So, do we think it's plausible they can pull it off?
If they can reliably get the travel time down to 4 hours that would seem to put rail just at the outer edge of equalling air travel. Especially as it goes city centre to city centre and avoids all the security checks and getting there an hour before your flight.
Or are Virgin Trains East Coast just making a lot of noise? As without switching to in cab signalling they're still restricted to a maximum speed of 200kph on the lines.
What reasonable options are available for the airlines to respond to this attempt?
[Edited 2016-04-03 13:57:00]