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Penny the Pendolino makes one-and-a-half-million

11/14/2009 AT 07:14

Train No. 390022, named Penny the Pendolino, smashed the million and a half mile barrier on Monday 19 October just north of Lancaster station as it worked the 07:30 service from London to Glasgow. The train has travelled over-half a million miles in under two years. It was previously the first Pendolino to clock up a million miles, which it did on the evening of Tuesday 8 January 2008, as it worked the 17:15 from London Euston to Glasgow. The train then clocked up its million miles just south of Bletchley in Buckinghamshire.

Over 22.5 million passenger journeys are now made with Virgin Trains every year. In travelling one-and-a-half million miles, Penny the Pendolino has travelled the equivalent of three return trips to the moon; or over 1,800 return trips from Glasgow to London.

The popularity and intensive use of the Pendolino trains means that they will each clock up a million miles in around half the time trains took a decade ago. In providing a 24/7 maintenance regime for the Pendolino fleet, Alstom ensures that the trains can meet their demanding schedule every day.

The state-of-the-art 125mph Pendolino trains emit on average 76% less carbon dioxide per seat than domestic airlines and are also saving energy and reducing pollution as they return energy to the electrical feeder stations every time they brake. The 52 tilting trains, designed, built and maintained by Alstom, are fitted with electronic control systems that cause the traction motors to provide braking effort by generating electricity back into the supply system. The generated electricity which is put back into the supply system achieves an overall energy saving of 17 percent.

Regenerative braking used on the Pendolino trains also reduces the use of the friction brakes, dramatically reducing brake-pad dust and pollution, to provide a double environmental benefit. The fleet of 52 Pendolino trains has now clocked up a total of 72.5 million miles between them.

Virgin Trains Chief Operating Officer Chris Gibb said: “This is a landmark for our Pendolino fleet, which also provides valuable benefits to the environment. We know that our passengers care about the environment and they can travel in the knowledge that by choosing to travel by train, they are doing their bit to save the planet and reduce consumption of energy.”

Alstom Transport UK Managing Director Paul Robinson said: “This milestone again demonstrates Alstom and Virgin's round the clock teamwork in providing a safe, high-performance Pendolino fleet every day. We are fully committed to supporting Virgin in delivering a world-class intercity service.”

The reliability and performance of the Pendolino train fleet has also contributed to helping Virgin Trains record its best ever train performance figure. In the four weeks ending 17 October 2009, 93.4 percent of trains arrived on time at their destination, beating the previous record of 91.3 percent in May 2006.

The latest performance figure is the highest since Virgin took over running the West Coast franchise in March 1997 and represents a 8.4 percent increase from the 85.0 percent performance recorded in the same period a year ago. An improved service has been consistently delivered over the last three months with nine out of every ten trains on time between August and October 2009.

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