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The Virgin Trains’ way from North Wales to Manchester

Press Release   •   Dec 05, 2013 16:40 GMT

On Monday 9 December 2013, Virgin Trains will introduce a new bargain fare from North Wales to Manchester.

With the famous Manchester Christmas Market’s 300 stalls already doing a roaring trade, there has never been a better time for our Welsh customers to make their way to the shopping haven across the border.

The journey from Holyhead to Manchester takes just 2hrs 51mins (with one change at Crewe) and costs just £36 return, while the 1hr 14mins trip from Chester to Manchester (with one change at Crewe) is a fantastic bargain at £10.50 return. Virgin Trains’ customers can access an array of high-street shops in Manchester, seven days a week, and save around a quarter off the usual ticket price. The special ticket is valid for travel on Virgin Trains’ services only.

Paul Cooper, Virgin Trains’ manager for Wales said: “We are delighted to offer these excellent value fares, and thanks to the 25% saving our Welsh customers will be able to bag more than one bargain. This is a fantastic opportunity our customers in Wales to travel in comfort and style to the great shopping haven that is Manchester.”

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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 October 2013 Business Traveller magazine readers voted the company the Best UK Domestic Rail Operator for the seventh 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 and again in October 2013. In May 2013 Virgin Trains renewed its 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.

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