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Update: Direct London-Shrewsbury rail services

Press release   •   Jan 15, 2014 14:49 GMT

Virgin Trains and Network Rail have been working together to look at ways of providing an attractive daily service linking Shropshire with London to start in December 2014.

Network Rail has previously offered two weekday off-peak daytime slots and two slots on Sundays which would have allowed for a return service between Shrewsbury and London Euston starting from the May 2014 timetable change.

However, the proposed timings were unattractive from a customer point of view, with the result that the services would not have been economically viable. Virgin Trains will therefore not be running them from this May as originally planned.

Network Rail and Virgin Trains will continue working hard with industry partners and other stakeholders to create a service from December 2014 that will be of real benefit to the people of Shropshire and for those wishing to visit the area from other towns and cities.  A further announcement will be made once more details are available.

For further information, please contact Virgin Trains Press Office - telephone: 0845 000 3333; email:

Or Network Rail's Media Relations Manager Jon Crampton: 0161 880 3142 / 07713 301440.

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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.

For more information about Virgin Trains visit the Virgin Trains' website  or the Media Room website