Press release -
New Alstom Pendolino train to enter service with Virgin Trains next week
A new 125mph Pendolino train, which will enter service next week, has been formally handed over to Virgin Trains by train builder Alstom. Leased by Virgin Trains from rolling stock owner Angel Trains, the train will enter service next week.
Virgin Trains’ Chief Operating Officer Chris Gibb accepted the train from Alstom Transport UK Managing Director, Paul Robinson and Malcolm Brown, Angel Trains’ Chief Executive, at Alstom’s Edge Hill Traincare Centre in Liverpool on 12 July. The new train has undergone extensive testing over the last few months and will now be used to boost capacity of the busy West Coast Main Line, where passenger numbers have doubled to over 28 million in the past six years alone - making it the fastest growing franchise.
Its use on the West Coast Main Line is a result of close co-operation between Virgin Trains and the Department for Transport. The agreement means that the 439-seat train will run on Virgin Trains’ busiest routes, and enable more capacity to be provided on other routes.
The new train will allow additional seats to be provided on the busy Birmingham-Scotland and London-Glasgow routes, which have seen growth of more than 30% in the last two years. It will provide 183 more seats than are currently available on the Super Voyagers that serve the Birmingham-Scotland route.
A five-carriage Super Voyager will then be transferred to services between London and North Wales, meaning that some of the busiest trains on the route will now have ten carriages.
Transport Minister Theresa Villiers said: “Tackling crowding and reducing the cost of our railways are two of the biggest challenges facing the rail industry at the moment. I am delighted that we have reached agreement to bring these carriages into service ahead of schedule.
“But this is just part of the Government’s plans to increase capacity for the West Coast main line - when all the new Pendolino vehicles and trains are in service in December 2012, there will be 106 new carriages in operation on the line.
“Across the rail network we plan to deliver more than around 2,700 new carriages by 2019. These carriages are already beginning to arrive.”
Chris Gibb, Chief Operating Officer of Virgin Trains, said: “This is exactly what our customers want - more seats and space for their journeys. We are delighted to accept this train into our fleet and from next week our passengers will be able benefit from more seats each day on some of our busiest trains.”
Paul Robinson, Managing Director of Alstom Transport UK added: ” Thanks to our teams in the UK and Italy and close cooperation with our customers, we are able to deliver this train for passenger service ahead of the original schedule; a great achievement.”
Malcolm Brown Chief Executive at Angel Trains adds : “We are delighted to have been able to work with Alstom and Virgin to enable the introduction of this new train which will significantly improve the travel experience for passengers on the West Coast Main Line. Angel Trains has always been supportive of extending the Pendolino fleet and we are delighted that this deal has come to fruition. We hope to play an active role in providing further investment to expand the number of fleets in operation on our railway lines.”
This train is part of the Pendolino extension programme to deliver four new 11-car Pendolino trains to the current fleet operating on the West Coast Main Line, in order to increase capacity. It will enter service initially as a nine-carriage set. As well as supplying these new trains, Alstom will lengthen 31 of the 52 existing trains operating on the West Coast Main Line from nine to eleven cars by the end of 2012, providing over 7,000 extra seats in all.
The trains were manufactured at Alstom’s site in Savigliano Italy, its UK Preston site specialised in traction engineering, parts and modernisation, supplying the power modules.
The DfT has ordered four 11-carriage Pendolino trains from Alstom along with an additional 62 new Standard carriages, which will be added to 31 existing nine-carriage trains.
Notes for editors
About Alstom’s Pendolino
Alstom’s Pendolino has been a genuine success story since its launch in the 1970’s, with more than 400 trains sold in the world which have covered over 500 million kilometres in commercial service. The Pendolino operates in 11 countries: Italy, Germany, the Czech Republic, Switzerland, Slovenia, the United Kingdom, Portugal, Spain, Finland, China and Russia.
About Angel Trains
Angel Trains owns and maintains more than 4,400 passenger and freight rail vehicles in the UK, about 37% of the nation’s rolling stock. Its customers include 18 of the 19 franchised train operating companies (TOCs) and two open access operators. Since 1996 it has invested over £3 billion in new trains and the refurbishment of existing trains, and is one of the largest private investors in UK rail.
About Alstom Transport
A promoter of sustainable mobility, Alstom is the only manufacturer in the world to offer a complete range of high performance products: rolling stock, infrastructures, information systems, services and turnkey solutions. Mindful of operators´ ever more stringent profitability objectives and of their growing need for sustainable mobility solutions, we propose ecologically and economically efficient products and services to our customers. Alstom transport recorded sales of 5.6 billion euros in the fiscal year 2010-2011. Alstom Transport is present in 60 countries and 25,500 people.
About Virgin Trains
Virgin Trains is the brand name of Virgin Rail Group (VRG), which is owned 51 percent by Virgin Group and 49 percent by Stagecoach. We have operated the West Coast passenger train franchise since 1997. The current franchise runs to March 2012 and the Secretary of State for Transport announced on 19 May 2011 that the Department for Transport will seek to agree acceptable terms with VRG for an extension to the current contract to December 2012. Virgin Trains has been short-listed for the new franchise that will start in December 2012.
001: Virgin Trains Chief Operating Officer Chris Gibb (centre), Alstom Transport UK Managing Director Paul Robinson (left) and Angel Trains Chief Executive Malcolm Brown (right) celebrate the handover of the new Pendolino train with some of the engineers from Alstom’s Edge Hill depot in Liverpool who have been involved in the commissioning of the new train.
002: Virgin Trains Chief Operating Officer Chris Gibb (centre), Alstom Transport UK Managing Director Paul Robinson (left) and Angel Trains Chief Executive Malcolm Brown (right) with new Pendolino train 390054.
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