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Virgin throws its support behind Heathrow plans

UK.WEBTRAINS.NET
02/10/2009 AT 09:32

Since 2004 Virgin Trains has dramatically increased the number of trains on both the Manchester and Birmingham routes from one an hour to three an hour, and significantly reduced journey times. Now almost 100 trains a day are operated on each of the Birmingham and Manchester routes.

Virgin Trains Chief Executive Tony Collins said: "It is great news that having seen the evidence of train operators success in taking on the airlines, the Government is taking bold steps to develop the UK's rail network and encouraging people to use rail to and from international airports. The long distance train operators have a track record for offering a real alternative to domestic flights, and Virgin Trains has demonstrated the benefits of rail in taking many thousands of passengers off domestic airlines. Completion of a rail link will also take thousands of cars a year off the roads."

"Virgin Trains is already winning round one of the battle with domestic airlines - turning a 30% share of the city-to-city air/rail market on the Manchester-London route five years ago, into an 80% share today. On the Liverpool-London route, the airline took flight and abandoned the domestic route altogether. Now a new high speed line serving Heathrow gives the prospect of fighting round two."

Virgin Trains will look at the government proposals in detail with a view to continuing involvement in high speed rail travel in the UK.

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