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Virgin Trains installs defibrillators on its Pendolino fleet

Press release   •   Jan 02, 2014 15:47 GMT

Virgin Trains is proud to announce that as of Friday 8 November, all our Class 390 Pendolinos have been fitted with defibrillators (AEDs) - a ground breaking achievement.  An AED is a sophisticated, reliable and safe device that delivers electric shocks to a person in cardiac arrest. It has been shown that when someone goes into cardiac arrest, every minute without CPR and defibrillation reduces their chances of survival by 10%, so having these machines on our trains could have potential life-saving benefits. 

 AEDs have been a staple at our managed stations for a long time with at least two of ready for use at each station.  Recognising the potential life-saving benefits provided where defibrillators are available, and with our customers’ welfare at the heart of everything we do, the decision was made to extend their installation to our train fleet.  

Our station people have been trained to use defibrillators for a long while, but during the summer of 2013, in readiness of the installation of AEDs on our Class 390 Pendolinos, all our Train Managers were trained in first aid and defibrillator use.  All our new frontline staff will also learn how to use the equipment in a one day First Aid training course which Virgin Trains provides at our stations or at our dedicated training centre- The Talent Academy in Crewe.  Training involves delegates using a defibrillator and practising on a dummy, CPR coaching and how and when to put someone in the recovery position.

Supported by Pendolino manufacturer Alstom, the AEDs were fitted by Virgin Trains’ London Regional Safety Manager, Patrick Fahey, together with a number of Train Managers and to date, the project has seen an investment of £90,000. Alstom stated, “Safety is incredibly important to Alstom, whether at one of our traincare centres or on board the Pendolino, and so we were delighted to be able to help with the work to fit defibrillators to the Virgin fleet. While we hope that they’re never used, I’m sure that it’s comforting to customers to know that they’re available should they be needed.”

The defibrillators themselves are the Powerheart G3 Semi Automatic model, manufactured by Cardiac Science and supplied by St John Ambulance.  John Cole, Head of Commercial Marketing at St John Ambulance said, “We welcome Virgin Trains’ proactive approach to first aid and were delighted when Alstom chose St John Ambulance to provide defibrillators for Virgin Trains’ state of the art Class 390 Pendolino Trains.  St John Ambulance believes that no one should die because they needed first aid and didn’t get it. Cardiac arrest can affect anyone at any age and defibrillation with good quality CPR is the only effective treatment for cardiac arrest. Research suggests that for each minute that passes without defibrillation after the heart stops, the casualty’s chance of survival falls by about 10%*. St John also provided free trainer training to Virgin Trains first aid trainers so they could train their in-house staff.’

 About St John Ambulance

St John Ambulance is a charity which teaches people first aid- about 800,000 people were trained by them last year alone- so that they can be the difference between a life lost and a life saved. They teach young people in school and through organized activities, people in the workplace and people in the community. They also provide first aid products for the workplace.  St John Ambulance also teach people who become their volunteers, offering their skills and time to be the difference right in the heart of their community- at public events, as first responders or providing back up to local ambulance services.  Anyone interested in purchasing an AED, or to request more information about first aid training through St John Ambulance, should telephone 0844 770 4800 or visit their website.

About Alstom

Alstom is a global leader in the world of power generation, transmission and rail infrastructure and sets the benchmark for innovative and environmentally conscious technologies. The Group is a multi specialist constructor in the railway sector covering everything from rolling stock and maintenance to signalling and infrastructures. Visit their website for more information.

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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