Virgin Trains’ customers arriving at London Euston Station today, between Platforms 2 and 3, will be confronted by the unusual sight of a luscious swathe of real grass framed by a white picket fence. Customers are being encouraged to remove their shoes and socks and take a wander into this urban paddock, to ‘feel the grass between their toes’.
For just one week, Virgin Trains customers are being invited to enjoy a piece of experiential installation art by taking a few minutes out of their busy day to relax, unwind and relish a brief interlude of calm and tranquillity in the centre of a busy railway station.
Commenting on this week long experience, Jim Rowe, Virgin Trains Senior Communications Manager says: “In an environment like London Euston station where people are often rushing to and from trains, we wanted to offer our passengers a moment away from the hustle and bustle and to have the therapeutic sensation of grass between their toes”
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Virgin Trains has revolutionised rail travel by creating a high speed, high frequency service that has cut journey times and made rail journeys more comfortable. It has operated the West Coast passenger train franchise since 1997, serving key UK cities including London, Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, Preston and Glasgow.
Virgin Trains is the brand name of Virgin Rail Group (VRG), which is owned 51 percent by Virgin Group and 49 percent by Stagecoach. The Department for Transport (DfT) has awarded VRG a franchise contract, which started on 9 December 2012 and will run for up to 23 months. The DfT announced on 26 March 2013 a programme for letting future franchises, with the long-term West Coast franchise expected to start in April 2017.
Virgin Trains has been recognised in numerous awards. In September 2012 Business Traveller magazine readers voted the company the Best UK Domestic Rail Operator for the sixth year running. In 2011 the company was named Best Rail Operator in the Group Leisure Awards (which it also won in 2009 and 2010). In 2011 Virgin Trains won the British Quality Foundation's Achievement Award for Customer Satisfaction.
Customers consistently rate the company the top long-distance rail franchise operator, as measured by the National Passenger Survey (NPS) run by industry watchdog Passenger Focus. In the most recent NPS (Spring 2013) overall satisfaction was 92%, equalling our best ever score from the previous survey (Autumn 2012).
Virgin Trains first achieved Investors In People accreditation in 2007 and this was renewed in 2010; the IIP Gold award was achieved in 2011. In May 2013 Virgin Trains renewed it accreditation against the criteria of the European Foundation for Quality Management's (EFQM) Excellence Model, which it originally achieved in May 2011 The company’s Learning and Development team won a National Training Awards 2011 West Midlands award for its Coaching Culture programme.For more information about Virgin Trains visit the Virgin Trains' website or the Media Room website.