Great North Eastern Railway (GNER) were the first TOC to operate over the East Coast Main Line after privatisation, the franchise being awarded to Bermuda based Sea Containers who took over on 28th April 1996.
GNER made a very bold step with their fleet and started applying their dark blue livery to power cars and trailers at a considerable rate, whether they were due exams or not. 43117 was the first power car to receive the new livery, very shortly followed by 43118 with the full HST power car fleet re-livery being completed in Spring 1997.
Half of the former IECP power cars had been reallocated from NL to EC in 1994, and in May 1998 GNER moved their remaining NL allocated IECP power cars to EC.
43006/008 were sent to Doncaster Works for a GNER style refurbishment and were transferred to the IECP fleet at EC in January 2003, but did not enter service until that summer after a protracted period in works due to their exceptionally poor state.
GNER added 43067/080 to their fleet in July 2004 as temporary whilst another pair of off-lease ex Virgin power cars (43099/102) were refurbished before being added to the fleet.
At the end of 2005 the fleet consisted of power cars 43006/008/038/039/095/096/099/102/105-120/167 and 197.
GNER was also starting to progress plans to ‘re-power’ its full fleet of HST power cars removing the trusty Paxman Valentas with MTU engines at Brush Works, and March 2006 saw 43090+100 taken on lease from Porterbrook and dispatched to Brush, whilst 43197 was taken off lease and joined 43078 in storage. As part of the conversion GNER decided to renumber their power cars by adding 200 to the original number, so 43090+100 became 43290+300 before emerging in December 2006. 43120 became the first GNER power to leave service for conversion at Brush Works during October.
GNER maintained their HST fleet primarily at Edinburgh Craigentinny and Leeds Neville Hill depots with minor exams taking place at Bounds Green near London.
GNER operated 11 HST sets over its route primarily on areas without overhead wires such as Hull, Harrogate and through to the North of Scotland.
The franchise operated until 2007 when it was taken over by National Express.