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Virgin Trains joins forces with VisitEngland to boost tourism in regions hit by floods

Press Release   •   Feb 01, 2016 07:00 GMT

Virgin Trains is offering an exclusive discount of 30% off Advance fares to areas affected by recent flooding as part of a three-month promotion starting next week.

The train company has teamed up with VisitEngland to boost tourism and support the #Openforbusiness message in Cumbria, Yorkshire, Lancashire and Northumberland, to encourage people to visit the outstanding national parks, historical cities and cultural places of interest.

The partnership comes four days after the Government’s announcement of the Flood Recovery Fund and a new £1 million ‘Staycation’ marketing campaign to promote tourism in the North of England.

Virgin Trains, which operates passenger services on both the East Coast and West Coast, aims to increase visitor numbers following the damage caused by storms Desmond, Eva and Frank in December 2015. The offer is timed to coincide with the February half-term holiday and Easter break in March.

Discounted fares can be purchased from Tuesday 9th February on direct Virgin Trains services to destinations including Carlisle, Lancaster, Oxenholme, Penrith and Preston on the West Coast route and Berwick-upon-Tweed, Doncaster, Leeds, Morpeth and York on the East Coast.

Destination organisations along the East and West Coast are also pulling together a raft of late availability offers and deals to help customers make the most of this great travel offer.

Phil Whittingham, Managing Director at Virgin Trains, said: “We’re pleased to support VisitEngland’s campaign; we want to demonstrate that the regions affected by the storms are very much open for business. By working together with Virgin Trains East Coast we are demonstrating our commitment to the communities we serve. We hope people make the most of these great offers and show their support for the region.”

David Horne, Managing Director of Virgin Trains East Coast, said: “This is a fantastic initiative to bolster areas affected by flooding and put them back on the map for visitors. As our head offices are in York we have seen firsthand the damage the storms caused to communities and businesses this winter. Indeed we were one of many businesses affected as our offices were flooded. York is just one of the wonderful destinations on our route which is linked by some of Britain’s most breathtaking scenery. From the Flying Scotsman season at York’s National Railway Museum to the great shopping on offer in Leeds or the spectacular backdrop of Berwick-upon-Tweed, there are plenty of great reasons to visit and we hope customers take advantage of this offer.”

Sally Balcombe, Chief Executive at VisitEngland, said: “With half term and Easter on the horizon there is no better time to give the Great British public a reason to book their short break or holiday, especially to areas recently affected by the adverse weather. We want to emphasise that they are very much open for business. Tourism is an essential part of local economies and incentives such as this travel offer will give these areas a much-needed boost.”

Culture Secretary, John Whittingdale, said: "I very much welcome this initiative by Virgin Trains which will encourage even more people to visit the North and see its stunning countryside, vibrant cities and world-class attractions.“The Government is actively supporting our tourism businesses as they recover from the recent floods and showing that the area is open for business. This new deal will encourage many more people to enjoy a break in the North over the coming weeks.”


Editors’ Notes

Virgin Trains West Coast offer

The 30% discount is available on off-peak Advance fares only and can be booked from Tuesday 9 February until Tuesday 1 March 2016.

The offer is available on direct services along the West Coast to Carlisle, Lancaster, Oxenholme, Penrith, Preston, Warrington and Wigan from Birmingham New Street, Birmingham International, Coventry, Milton Keynes, London Euston, Watford and Wolverhampton for travel between 10 February – 13 May 2016. 

Virgin Trains East Coast offer

The 30% discount is available on off-peak Advance fares only and can be booked from Tuesday 9 February until Tuesday 1 March 2016.

The offer is available on direct services along the East Coast to Alnmouth, Berwick-upon-Tweed, Bradford Forster Square, Brough, Doncaster, Durham, Harrogate, Hull, Keighley, Leeds, Morpeth, Northallerton, Selby, Shipley, Skipton, Wakefield Westgate and York travel between 10 February – 13 May 2016. 

Offers from destination organisations

A number of travel offers will be available across Cumbria, Lancashire, Northumberland and Yorkshire and will go live on Tuesday 9 February. For example, GoLakes are offering three nights for the price of two and 10% off weekly stays. Yorkshire are offering four nights for the price of three.

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 in March 2015, serving key UK cities including London, Peterborough, Doncaster, Leeds, York, Newcastle, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Inverness. The franchise will last until at least 31 March 2023.

Visit the Virgin Trains East Coast Media Centre at: for the latest news and images.

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