Virgin Trains’ promise to enhance and improve the customer experience on the East Coast route took another step forward this week with the release onto the lines of its second refurbished train within a month.
The train also entered service as Virgin and Network Rail signed an agreement that commits them to work closely together to improve performance across the network.
Meanwhile, engineering staff are working round the clock to replace seats and carpets across the 45-strong Virgin fleet with the aim of completing by the end of the year.
Luxurious black leather seats for First Class carriages and stunning red cloth seats in Standard are providing a new lease of life to the trains and extra comfort for customers.
The work, including new carpets and fittings, is part of a £40 million investment over the next few years that will also see new diesel engines fitted and the re-branding of the exterior of the trains.
The latest refurbished train to be put into service left Edinburgh this morning (Wednesday) at 0930 for London King’s Cross and it will operate daily right across the route. Its release signals Virgin’s continuing commitment to improving the customer experience expressed in the new alliance with Network Rail.
The alliance means the two businesses will collaborate more closely on day-to-day issues relating to performance, safety and customer service, as well as major projects including the 65 new express trains being built by Hitachi and planned to roll-out from 2018.
Virgin Trains’ Managing Director David Horne said: “We’re looking forward to our new fleet arriving from 2018 but we wanted to make sure the trains our customers are travelling on now give them the kind of comfort and glamour Virgin is known for.
“Our refreshed interiors are just one of the ways we will be improving and enhancing the overall experience for our customers and the alliance with Network Rail means we’ll be collaborating much more closely on all areas of safety, performance and service.”
Contact the Virgin Trains East Coast Press Office: 0116 366 3988 during office hours (09.00 - 17.30 Mon-Fri). Outside these times, and for urgent media enquiries only, please call 08700 005151 and ask for the duty Virgin Trains East Coast press officer to be paged.
Virgin Trains East Coast is the brand name of InterCity Railways Ltd (ICR), which is owned by Stagecoach Group (90%) and Virgin Group (10%). Virgin Trains East Coast began operating services on the East Coast Main Line on Sunday 1 March 2015, serving key UK cities including London, Peterborough, Doncaster, Leeds, York, Newcastle, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Inverness. In November 2014 the Department for Transport awarded ICR a new franchise until at least 31 March 2023.
Virgin Trains East Coast is committed to delivering a high speed, high quality service with new services, faster and more frequent journeys, more comfortable travel and excellent customer service. More than £140m is to be invested in delivering improved service and a more personalised travel experience for customers.
Visit the Virgin Trains East Coast Media Centre at: http://www.virgintrainseastcoast.com/media-centre for the latest news and images.
• Stagecoach Group is a leading international public transport group, with extensive operations in the UK, mainland Europe, the United States and Canada. The Group employs around 38,000 people, and operates bus, coach, train, and tram services.
• Stagecoach is one of the UK’s biggest bus and coach operators with around 8,300 buses and coaches. Around 2.8 million passenger journeys are made on Stagecoach's buses every day on a network stretching from south-west England to the Highlands and Islands of Scotland. The Group’s business includes major city bus operations in London, Liverpool, Newcastle, Hull, Manchester, Oxford, Sheffield and Cambridge. Low-cost coach service, megabus.com, operates a network of inter-city services across the UK and continental Europe.
• Stagecoach is a major UK rail operator, running the South West Trains, Island Line and East Midlands Trains networks. It is also the majority shareholder (90%) in the new Virgin Trains East Coast franchise and has a 49% shareholding in Virgin Rail Group, which operates the West Coast rail franchise.
• Stagecoach also operates the Supertram light rail network in Sheffield.
• In North America, Stagecoach operates around 2,400 buses and coaches in the United States and Canada. Megabus.com links around 130 key locations in North America. Stagecoach is also involved in operating commuter, transit, airport express services, contracted, charter and sightseeing services.