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Virgin Trains leads the way in customer satisfaction and performance for long-distance operators

Press Release   •   Jan 24, 2017 09:31 GMT

  • Virgin Trains top of long-distance franchised operators in latest NRPS results
  • Passenger satisfaction scores show marked improvement in stations and on-board facilities
  • Services score highly for journey time, frequency and punctuality

Virgin Trains has achieved some of the highest overall scores for long-distance franchised operators in today’s NRPS results, scoring 90% on its west coast route and 91% on its east coast route. Virgin Trains which has delivered consistently high scores on the west coast for a number of years is now seeing the best autumn result on its east coast route in three years.

Stations and On-board

The £50m investment in the refurbishment of the entire east coast fleet and enhancements in customer experience were reflected in a 10% rise in scores for the upkeep and repair of trains and an 8% increase in the comfort of train seats.

Car parking facilities on the east coast also saw an 11% boost in customer satisfaction, reflecting the additional 1,000 car parking spaces that have been made available at managed stations along the route.

On west coast, the survey highlights major improvements station upkeep and facilities (+8%) and general facilities and services (+10%) and the responsiveness of station staff stayed strong (91%).

Speed, Frequency and Punctuality

Recent timetable enhancements on the east coast route, particularly at Leeds, York and Edinburgh, contributed to high scores for frequency (92%), speed (90%) and punctuality (89%). On the west coast, journey time remains a consistent strength (93%).

These outstanding results follow on from news last week that Virgin Trains achieved a five star rating for reliability in the latest Annual Passenger Survey from Which? Customers of Virgin Trains on the west coast are also experiencing record punctuality as a result of a combined effort between the rail operator and Network Rail to identify and resolve the cause of delays on the route. 88.3% of trains arrived on time over the last twelve months, an improvement of eight percentage points since comparable records began just after privatisation, two decades ago.

David Horne, Managing Director of Virgin Trains on the east coast said: “We are delighted to see Virgin Trains leading the results for long-distance operators. The £50M investment in our services is bearing fruit and we are happy to see that customers are seeing the benefits of our new interiors, more frequent services and our on-board entertainment app, BEAM. The work doesn’t stop here though as we continue to improve on the high quality service our customers have come to expect of us ahead of the launch of our cutting edge new Azuma fleet in 2018.”

Phil Whittingham, Managing Director of Virgin Trains on the west coast said: “We are proud to be building on the success of a franchise that is nearly 20 years old. We are continuing to make improvements to areas that we know are important to our customers such as station facilities, and introducing more convenient mobile tickets, whilst working with Network Rail to take our punctuality and reliability to a record high.”

Notes to Editors

East Coast Highlights:

91% overall satisfaction score – highest since Autumn 2013

Percentage Percentage change since Autumn 2015
Upkeep & repair of trains 86% (+10%)
Car parking facilities 64% (+11%)
Comfort of train seats 81% (+8%)
Frequency of trains 92% (0%)
Cleanliness of trains 84% (+1%)
Speed of journey 90% (-1%)
Punctuality & reliability 89% (+3%)
West Coast Highlights: 90% overall satisfaction score
Percentage Percentage change since Autumn 2015
Satisfaction with stations 84% (+6%)
Ticket buying facilities 87% (+8%)
Upkeep/repair of stations 76% (+8%)
Cleanliness of stations 82% (+6%)
Facilities and services at the station 72% (+10%)
Speed of journey 93% (0%)
Punctuality & reliability 89% (-1%)

About Virgin Trains:

Stagecoach and Virgin are working in partnership to operate the East Coast and West Coast inter-city routes under the Virgin Trains brand. Together, they are on track to revolutionise rail travel across the UK.

The combined network connects some of the nation’s most iconic destinations including Glasgow, Liverpool, Birmingham, Manchester, Edinburgh, Newcastle, Leeds, York and London.

Virgin Trains is committed to delivering a high speed, high frequency service, offering shorter journey times, more comfortable travel and excellent customer service. Customers consistently rate Virgin Trains as one of the top long-distance rail franchise operators in the National Rail Passenger Survey (NRPS) commissioned by industry watchdog, Transport Focus.

On the East Coast route, £140m is being invested to create a more personalised travel experience. We have already invested £21m to completely revamp our existing fleet and customers can now benefit from 42 additional services (22,000 extra seats) per week between Edinburgh and London. 2018 will see the introduction of completely new Azuma trains being built in the UK by Hitachi.

The West Coast route has a proud record of challenging the status quo - from introducing tilting Pendolino trains, to a pioneering automated delay repay scheme and becoming the first franchised rail operator to offer m-Tickets for all ticket types.

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Press Office: 0845 000 3333.