PRN: 50% More Standard Seats as Longer Trains Take to the Tracks to Boost Virgin Trains Capacity
50% More Standard Seats as Longer Trains Take to the Tracks to Boost Virgin Trains Capacity
LONDON, March 14, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --
Longer trains are set to enter service with Virgin Trains next month (April), providing 150 extra Standard seats on some of the busiest services on the West Coast Main Line.
The longer trains will initially work services on the London to Birmingham route, but as more 11-coach trains come into service they will also operate some of the busiest trains on the Manchester, Liverpool and Glasgow routes. Â By the end of April they are expected to be running on over
Tony Collins, Virgin Trains Chief Executive Officer said: "Working closely with the Department for Transport we are delighted to be bringing more capacity on to our services. We have listened to feedback from our customers, staff and stakeholders and are putting the longer trains into service where the extra seats are needed the most. The lengthened Pendolinos will provide 589 seats, with over 440 being provided for Standard customers, an increase of over 50% in the number of Standard seats."
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.
"But this is just part of the Government's plans to increase rail capacity - across the network we plan to deliver more than around 2,700 new carriages by 2019."
106 new Pendolino vehicles are being built, which comprises four new eleven coach trains and 62 additional vehicles to convert 31 existing nine coach Pendolino trains to 11 coach. When all of the extra carriages are in service they will provide over 10 million extra seats on the West Coast Main Line every year.
Passengers in North Wales saw more capacity provided on Virgin Trains services from Holyhead/Chester-London last year and this will continue to be provided on the route with the busiest trains continuing to be formed of ten coaches.
Notes to Editors
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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 was due to run until 31 March 2012, but the Department for Transport announced on 27 October 2011 that it would be extended until 8 December 2012. We have been short-listed for the new franchise that will start on 9 December 2012 and run until 31 March 2026, with an option to be extended by up to 20 months.
Virgin Trains has been recognised in numerous industry awards. In 2011 the company was named Best Rail Operator in the Group Leisure Awards (which we also won in 2009 and 2010). In 2011 Virgin Trains won the British Quality Foundation's Achievement Award for Customer Satisfaction. In 2012 we were named Best Rail Operator of the Year at the Travel Globe Awards (voted for by readers of the Daily Mail, Mail on Sunday and Evening Standard. We also won this award in 2010. In 2009 we were voted Best UK Domestic Train Service by Business Traveller magazine for the second year running.
Virgin Trains first achieved Investors In People accreditation in 2007 and this was renewed in 2010; the IIP Gold award was achieved in 2011. In May 2011 Virgin Trains was awarded accreditation against the criteria of the European Foundation for Quality Management's (EFQM) Excellence Model. The company's Learning and Development team won a National Training Awards 2011 West Midlands award for its Coaching Culture programme.
For further media information contact the Virgin Trains Press Office on 0845-000-3333 or visit our Media Room website atÂ Â http://www.virgintrains.co.uk/about/media-room/