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New Direct Services Get Green Light

Press Releases   •   Sep 22, 2014 14:28 BST

Virgin Trains today (22 September 2014) received the green light from the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) to run direct services from both Blackpool and Shrewsbury to London Euston.

The new services will commence in December 2014 and are part of a range of service improvements on the West Coast Main Line route that coincide with the award of Virgin Trains’ extended franchise.

Shrewsbury will see two services in each direction on a weekday, departing at 06:39 and 15:24. With arrival times in Euston at 09:15 and 17:56 the services will call at Telford Central, Wellington, Wolverhampton, Birmingham New Street, Birmingham International, Coventry and Rugby (morning service only).  Services back to Shropshire leave Euston at 10:23 and 18:23, arriving in Shrewsbury at 12:58 and 20:55 respectively.

Blackpool North will also benefit from the introduction of a daily trip to London Euston (Monday-Friday).  The service will depart at 05:25 and is due to call also at Kirkham & Wesham, Poulton-le-Flyde, Preston, Wigan North Western, Warrington Bank Quay, Crewe and Nuneaton before arriving in London at 08:34.  The return service from London Euston departs at 16:33 and arrives back in Blackpool at 19:31.

The Shrewsbury service will commence on Sunday 14 December 2014 with the Blackpool operation starting 24 hours later on Monday 15 December 2014. Full details on the times are given below.

“It’s an exciting time for everyone involved with Virgin Trains,” explained Lead Executive Phil Whittingham.  “With our extended franchise we are able to get back to doing what we do best, offering new journey opportunities whilst still delivering the same high standards of service to our customers.

“We have worked hard with our industry partners to gain the approval for these new services. Special thanks must go to the ORR, Network Rail and the Department for Transport. We thank them all for this big vote of confidence.”

“We couldn’t be more pleased and are really looking forward to working with all stakeholders to ensure they are a success and become a permanent fixture of the railway timetable.”

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: “This is great news for passengers. Strong transport links are an important part of our long-term economic plan, which is why we are investing £38 billion over the next five years on maintaining and improving our railways. I am pleased to see companies like Virgin working together with Network Rail and the ORR to get better services for passengers.”

A spokesman for Network Rail said: "Direct trains between London and Blackpool and Shrewsbury will be a valuable addition to the services which already connect both towns to the rest of the rail network. They will provide greater business and leisure opportunities and will support and develop local economic growth as a result of improved access to the capital.

“We have worked closely with Virgin Trains, the ORR and the wider industry to make this possible to help meet the demands of passengers and will continue to do so ahead of the first services being introduced in December 2014.”

 

Visit our Media Room website - www.virgintrains.com/mediaroom - for the latest news and press releases. To receive our content live, as and when we publish it, you can sign up to follow us. Go to Follow Virgin Trains and subscribe.

Press Office (Journalists only) : 0845 000 3333. Company website: www.virgintrains.com.

Virgin Trains today (22 September 2014) received the green light from the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) to run direct services from both Blackpool and Shrewsbury to London Euston.

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Passenger power: Virgin Trains puts investment options to the vote

Press Releases   •   Sep 19, 2014 08:43 BST

•Results revealed of Virgin Trains’ most extensive research into the customer experience •Biggest passenger priorities include loyalty rewards, enhanced waiting areas and pre-boarding assistance •£50 million investment to be made in customer experience

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Preston North End fans get Virgin Trains travel discount

Press Releases   •   Sep 16, 2014 20:00 BST

Preston North End season ticket holders will get 25% off the cost of Advance fares with Virgin Trains. The offer has been launched as part of a two-year sponsorship deal with PNE.

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Virgin Trains one of UK’s most trusted rail operators

Press Releases   •   Aug 15, 2014 00:05 BST

Virgin Trains has welcomed independent research showing it to be one of the most trusted rail operators in the UK.

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Attention all passengers: Virgin Trains now gives you Nectar points every time you travel

Press Releases   •   Aug 12, 2014 11:03 BST

Virgin Trains has teamed up with Nectar, the UK’s largest loyalty programme to announce an exciting new partnership giving customers the opportunity to collect Nectar points when booking tickets online at virgintrains.com from 12 August 2014. Virgin Trains customers will receive 2 Nectar points for every £1 spent on tickets purchased on the Virgin Trains website.

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Preston North End Agrees Virgin Trains Partnership

Press Releases   •   Aug 08, 2014 10:29 BST

Preston North End are delighted to announce they have signed a deal with Virgin Trains, that will see the travel operator become the Club’s official shirt sponsor and travel partner.

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Virgin Trains delivers huge passenger boost for Glasgow

Press Releases   •   Aug 04, 2014 08:30 BST

Virgin Trains has seen a huge uplift in passengers travelling from England to Glasgow over the last fortnight as the city celebrated one of its biggest sporting and cultural events.

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Virgin Trains comes to the rescue of missing teddies!

Press Releases   •   Jul 18, 2014 11:49 BST

• Virgin Trains becomes first travel operator to introduce a teddy tracker • Virgin Trains pledges to return all lost toys left on board their trains • Idea inspired by mother’s plea to Richard Branson to find 7-year-old’s missing teddy, Rufus

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Children go free over the summer holiday

Press Releases   •   Jul 18, 2014 09:00 BST

Children travelling from Milton Keynes to London for fun-filled family days out will be offered free travel over the summer holiday.

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Royal commemoration for British explorer

Press Releases   •   Jul 18, 2014 08:13 BST

British explorer Matthew Flinders, the man who gave Australia its name, is to be commemorated with a life-size bronze statue in the centre of London today (Fri).

The 6-foot high work was commissioned by the South Australian Government and will be unveiled by HRH the Duke of Cambridge at Australia House, before being installed at its permanent home in Euston Station, where it is believed he was buried.

The Duke will also reveal a commemorative Matthew Flinders locomotive nameplate for one of Virgin Trains' flagship Pendolinos that sees service on the West Coast Main Line between London Euston, the Midlands, North West and Scotland.

South Australian Government officials based in the UK have led the two-year initiative to mark the life of Flinders on the bicentenary of his death. Despite his remarkable achievements, Flinders is largely unknown in the UK, but sculptor, Mark Richards, has set out to create a work that both explained who he was and what he did.

Aged just 27, he was the first to circumnavigate Australia, and defined the borders of the continent, proving that New South Wales and Western Australia (New Holland as it was then known) were a single entity. 

Flinders became the driving force behind the naming of the country when he wrote “Terra Australis” on his 1804 chart after he explored the then ‘unknown’ southern coast of Australia. 

During an earlier exploration of Australia he also established with George Bass that Tasmania (then referred to as Van Diemen’s Land) was a separate island from the mainland of Australia.

He is also responsible for naming more than 150 places across Australia including such tourist attractions as Kangaroo Island in South Australia.

On his return to England in 1803, Flinders' vessel needed urgent repairs at Isle de France (Mauritius). Although Britain and France were at war, Flinders thought the scientific nature of his work would ensure safe passage, but instead he found himself under arrest and held in captivity for more than six years.

Flinders is considered the nautical grandson of Captain James Cook whose wisdom was passed down through Captain William Bligh, who had served under Cook and later commanded Flinders in the Providence. 

His professional prowess and expertise as a navigator and hydrographer, inherited from Cook and Bligh, was further enhanced by his own experiences and determination and experts say there is little doubt he would have achieved even more had he not died at the early age of forty.

Flinders left his mark on Australia and its history and so helped lay the foundations that were to prove so vital to the country’s future.

He has become a household name in Australia and now has a University named in his honour – Flinders University in the city of Adelaide, which celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2016. 

Bill Muirhead, Agent General for South Australia said “He was a great Englishman who had an immeasurable influence to South Australia, Flinders literally helped to shape the entire country and it’s a great honour to finally be able to properly recognise his astonishing achievements here in his homeland.

“Having the Duke of Cambridge unveil Mark Richard's brilliant masterpiece further strengthens the historic bond between Australia and Great Britain for a new generation”

Sir Richard Branson added "Australia has always been a country close to my heart. Its stunning landscape, it’s wonderful people and that refreshing free spirit that has so many parallels with the Virgin brand.

“So owe a great debt of gratitude to the work of Captain Matthew Flinders. I can certainly relate to his sense of adventure and discovery and believe it's only right the 200th anniversary of his death be marked in this way."

Visit our Media Room website - www.virgintrains.com/mediaroom - for the latest news and press releases. To receive our content live, as and when we publish it, you can sign up to follow us. Go to Follow Virgin Trains and subscribe.

Press Office: 0845 000 3333. Company website: www.virgintrains.com.

Explorer Matthew Flinders, the man who gave Australia its name, is to be commemorated with a life-size statue in London. The work will be unveiled by HRH the Duke of Cambridge at Australia House, before being installed at its permanent home in Euston Station, where it is believed he was buried.

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