The franchise will commence on 9 December 2007, and will continue until 31 March 2015 with the last 17 months conditional on set performance levels being reached. NXEC Trains Ltd has undertaken to pay the Department for Transport a premium of £1,414 million net present value over the life of the franchise that will be reinvested in the railways.
NXEC will invest £7.4 million to upgrade station facilities. Up to 2000 more car parking spaces will be provided by the end of the franchise with half of these expected within the first two years.
Environmental improvements have also been secured. Four stations will be designated as "green stations". Pre-series inter-city express trains, which will replace the current fleet of high speed trains, will be trialled on the east coast main line from summer 2012.