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Virgin Trains ready to act on findings of Eddington Transport Study

Press release   •   Nov 30, 2006 23:00 GMT

Virgin Trains is ready to act on findings of the Eddington Transport Study report published today as it completes plans to increase capacity to meet growing demand for its West Coast services during the coming decade.

Publication of the study’s findings comes as Virgin Trains is preparing major changes to cope with unprecedented growth levels on each of its two franchises, Virgin West Coast and Virgin CrossCountry.

From the end of 2008 Virgin Trains will be running 32 percent more train services on West Coast, providing ten million extra seats every year. The number of Sunday services will double to cope with booming demand and weekday frequencies will be improved from two to three trains an hour between London, Birmingham and Manchester, and hourly services will run between London and Glasgow.

Also, advanced discussions are under way with the Department for Transport to add two more coaches to each of the 53 nine-coach Pendolino trains, and with Network Rail to increase speeds to 135 mph over sections of the West Coast Main Line now being further improved.

Publication of the Eddington Study, to which Virgin Trains contributed evidence, follows the recent National Audit Office report on the West Coast Main Line modernisation. This praised Virgin Trains’ achievement of a 20 percent increase in West Coast passenger journeys during the past year – four percent more than expected.

During the past ten years, Virgin Trains has achieved massive levels of growth on its West Coast and CrossCountry franchises and is determined to meet the sustained and continuing demands of the next decade. More than 40million customers have travelled with Virgin Trains in the last year, compared to 26million in 1997, when the company began operating the franchises.

Since introduction of the Red Revolution 125 mph timetable in 2004, passenger journeys between Manchester and London have increased by 50 percent, partly at the expense of domestic air travel which continues to decline on the route. 

The success of the visionary West Coast Main Line modernisation is already proven and is now paving the way for even more frequent and faster services by exploitation of the capabilities of the Pendolino tilting trains.

West Coast success comes on the back of Virgin CrossCountry’s increase in yearly numbers of passengers from 12 million to 22 million during the past ten years, a rise of more than 70 per cent, outstripping the industry average of 40 per cent.

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