Virgin Trains on the east coast route today surprised customers with puppies, hand-warmers and other prize giveaways in a bid to eradicate ‘Blue Monday’ woes.
Newcastle Central Station hosted Guide Dogs and dished-out free hand warming packs to customers this morning.
As the third Monday in January has become known as the most depressing day of the year, Virgin Trains offered up a selection of treats and tweets to help bring some cheer, and beat any post-Christmas blues.
Virgin Trains is already lifting the mood on-board its trains with a £21 million makeover. This includes introducing luxurious leather seats, new carpets and fittings and, in a few weeks’ time, new ‘mood lighting’ in First Class.
Claire Ansley, Virgin Trains General Manager for Newcastle Central Station, said: “We hope our Virgin Trains teams will help boost the mood of customers travelling with us on Blue Monday.
“It’s a chilly time of year when waiting on platforms so our handy little hand-warmers will no doubt prove popular, while customers who have experienced our newly refurbished trains have really loved our new look”.
As part of the refreshed new on-board look, new seats, carpets and improved signage is being added to the fleet of 45 trains throughout 2016.
In a UK first, coloured mood-lighting is being incorporated to the new-look First Class coaches.
Pippa Turner, Community Fundraiser for Guide Dogs, said: “Guide Dogs are very excited to be supporting Virgin Train’s Blue Monday event in Newcastle Central Station. It’s a great opportunity for the public to meet our wonderful Guide Dog Puppies as the Guide Dogs service receives no government funding and depends entirely on public support.
“Whilst helping Virgin Trains customers beat the January blues, it will also provide our puppies with some wonderful new experiences at the train station and with socialisation.’
Platform teams were at Virgin Trains stations across the east coast route as part of the promotional activities on 'Blue Monday'.
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.