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Virgin Trains delivers its VHF promises

01/18/2010 AT 07:41

Total growth in passenger numbers is 15 percent. Growth has continued through the year, despite the difficult economic situation, in marked contrast to airlines and other long-distance rail operators. The share of the rail/air market on the Manchester/London route is over 80 percent, and on Glasgow/London has doubled to 17 percent as customers have switched away from domestic air travel and turned to trains instead.

The routes from Manchester and Birmingham to London Euston have seen train frequencies increased to every 20 minutes, and average journey times in the case of Manchester slashed to as little as 2h05. The number of direct trains from London to Glasgow increased from nine to 13 a day while, since 26 January, Chester has been linked to the Capital by a train each hour. Liverpool received extra peak period trains to and from London Euston.

Tony Collins, Virgin Trains' Chief Executive Officer, said: “After a year of operation it is clear that VHF works. The intensive use of the network and of our trains is vital if the UK is to gain maximum benefit for the investment in the West Coast.”

Passengers travelling at weekends, previously used to limited frequencies and slow schedules while Network Rail carried out the West Coast Upgrade, have enjoyed some of the biggest improvements. Those taking weekend breaks, for example, have 20 minute interval services between London and Manchester and Birmingham through to mid-evening on Sundays. Passenger numbers at weekends have grown by 36 percent.

Service performance has steadily improved over the year after initially disappointing punctuality in the early part of 2009. Over the period between August and November the Public Performance Measure (PPM) was 90.1 percent. Our fleets of Pendolino and Super Voyager trains remain some of the most reliable in the industry.

During the year a number of other improvements have been introduced for customers. Wi-Fi and enhanced mobile reception has been installed on all our trains. Our programme of increasing car park spaces is now nearly complete, with some 2800 spaces delivered and extra capacity of 1000 spaces at remaining stations to come on stream during 2010. A new First Class Lounge has been opened at Crewe station; lounges at London Euston and Liverpool Lime Street have been completely refurbished.

Passengers have taken advantage of excellent deals on tickets. The average price paid per mile has gone down by 8.4 percent. A revamped website - virgintrains.com - launched in November makes it even simpler for customers to find the best prices, particularly through the user-friendly Best Fare Finder. Over 500,000 discounted Advance tickets are available every week.

Timetable changes from 13 December

Following the introduction of a new West Coast timetable last year, there are relatively few changes this December with the basic pattern of service remaining the same.

More parking spaces at Wigan North Western station

The new multi-storey car park at Wigan North Western station will open on Monday 7 December. The expanded car park will provide an additional 135 parking spaces, making a total of 403 spaces available at the West Coast station.

More car parking spaces for Stafford station

Virgin Trains in partnership with Network Rail is doubling the number of car parking spaces available for rail passengers at Stafford station. When the new car park completed it will provide an additional 272 car parking spaces. The new 522-space car park is expected to be completed in late 2010.

Virgin delivers best ever train performance

Virgin Trains' West Coast rail franchise has just recorded its best ever train performance. In the four weeks ending 17 October 93.4 percent of trains arrived on time at their destination, beating the previous record of 91.3 percent in May 2006.

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

A Virgin Trains' Pendolino tilting train, designed, built and maintained by Alstom, has become the first of the 52-strong fleet to clock up a million-and-a-half miles.

Megatrain.com offers thousands more rail seats

Budget train service megatrain.com has doubled the number of low-cost seats available on routes from Portsmouth and Southampton to London.

Cycle to work by train

Virgin Trains is to become one of the first flagship Bike ‘n' Ride train companies in the country following £1m joint funding from the Department for Transport and Cycling England.

More car parking spaces at Wolverhampton

The first phase of an expanded car park at Wolverhampton station is started. The car park will provide an additional 77 parking spaces, making a total of 477 spaces available at the West Midlands station.

Best July train punctuality for over a decade

July saw 92.4% of trains arriving on time across Great Britain making it the best July since records began over a decade ago.

More seats between Midlands and Scotland

Passengers are to be offered thousands of extra seats over the next few weeks on the busy Virgin Trains route between the West Midlands and Scotland through Cheshire, Lancashire and Cumbria.

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