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Virgin Trains heralds the end of the orange ticket

Press Release   •   Feb 20, 2016 00:01 GMT

Virgin Trains becomes the first franchised train company to offer m-Tickets across all ticket types and routes

Virgin Trains has announced that this week it will make m-Tickets available to Virgin customers travelling on all routes along the east and west coast mainlines.

Virgin Trains is the first franchised rail operator to offer m-Tickets for all ticket types and across all routes in this major step towards eliminating the orange ticket completely.

The bar-coded m-Tickets which customers download to their smartphones or other mobile devices will be offered for journeys on Virgin Trains services purchased through the Virgin Trains (east coast) website or the Virgin Trains app*.

The app means that customers can both buy and use their tickets on their mobile for maximum convenience. It also means that customers wanting to buy their tickets on the day can download the app via the free Virgin Trains station Wi-Fi, avoid queues, and select their ticket via a simpler interface than ticket machines.

This follows on from Virgin Trains’ participation in the industry pilot scheme looking at making buying and using train tickets simple. As part of this pilot we have been able to increase our overall mobile ticket sales to over 170,000 since July 2015, from less than half that amount.

Both companies are looking at ways to bring m-Tickets to even more customers and move away from paper tickets completely, which are easily lost or confused with tickets for other journeys.

Rail Minister, Claire Perry commented,“We want to build a 21st century railway that provides better journeys for all, and much simpler and smarter ticketing is a vital part of that. We have been clear that we will support the industry with ticketing innovation but that we also want rail companies to do what is best for their passengers, without government interference. The expansion of mobile tickets means more Virgin Trains customers can enjoy the benefits of this new technology, and it will help us get rid of outdated paper tangerine tickets.”

Graham Leech, Group Commercial Director, Virgin Trains added, “We always want to be on the side of passengers and make their experience with us the best it can be. That’s why we love innovating for our customers, which is why we were the first train company to introduce automatic delay repay and why we’re now the first franchised operator to bring in m-Tickets in this way.”


Editor’s Notes

*The m-Ticket offering will go live on the following dates:

  • 23 February: West coast journeys can be booked via the app for mobile m-Ticket fulfilment (excluding season tickets)
  • 1 March: East coast journeys can be booked via the east coast website for mobile m-Ticket fulfilment (Applies to all routes and ticket types except journeys to Leeds, Stevenage and North of Edinburgh where m-Tickets are available on Advance fares only). Excludes season ticket holders.
  • Early April: the Virgin Trains app and the Virgin Trains (east coast) website will both sell m-Tickets for both franchises.

About Virgin Trains

Virgin Trains is the brand name of Virgin Rail Group (VRG), which is owned by Virgin Group (51%) and Stagecoach (49%). Virgin Trains has operated the West Coast passenger train franchise since 1997, serving key UK cities including London, Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool and Glasgow. In June 2014 the Department for Transport (DfT) awarded VRG a new franchise until at least April 2017.

Virgin Trains is committed to delivering a high speed, high frequency service, offering shorter journey times, more comfortable travel and excellent customer service. We provide the most frequent long-distance rail service in Europe (London - Manchester and London – Birmingham, both every 20 minutes).

Since 1997, Virgin Trains has introduced over 70 new trains at a cost of £1.5 billion. The service carries more than 34.5 million passengers a year and Virgin Trains employs approximately 3,290 staff.

Virgin Trains customers consistently rate the company as one of the top long-distance rail franchise operators in the National Passenger Survey (NPS) commissioned by industry watchdog “Passenger Focus”.

Visit the Virgin Trains Media Room - - for the latest news, images and videos. Subscribe here for regular news from Virgin Trains.

Press Office: 0845 000 3333. Company website:

About Virgin Trains East Coast

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 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: for the latest news and images.

Contact the Virgin Trains Press Office: or call us on 0845 000 3333.

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