You are here: Home  »  News  » 

News » 

Virgin Trains wins West Coast Main Line contract

Published: 19/06/2014 - Filed under: News »

  • Print
  • Send

Virgin Trains has promised to raise capacity on West Coast Main Line services after winning the contract to continue operating them.

The deal will run for another two years and nine months until 2017, with an option for a one-year extension.

The new West Coast contract will see Virgin invest a further £35 million to update rolling stock and provide an extra 5,500 standard class seats per day. Virgin will also invest more than £20 million to modernise stations.

This increase in seats will be made possible by converting coach G on 21 Virgin trains from first to standard class.

Virgin has also announced it will offer 'superfast' free wifi on all 76 Pendolino and Super Voyager trains. Network Rail intends to support this by providing track-side infrastructure.

Virgin claims it will be the first major intercity deployment of 4G technology on the UK rail network.

There will also be new direct services between Shrewsbury, Blackpool and London from December.

In 2012, the Government awarded the contract to rail operator First Group, but it was delayed and then cancelled after the Department for Transport discovered technical flaws in the way the franchise process was conducted.

Patrick McCall, Virgin Trains executive co-chairman, said: "We're delighted to have reached a deal after some tough negotiations with the DFT.

"It puts the problems of 2012 firmly behind us, and shows the clear benefits of a well-run franchise system."

The new West Coast contract comes into force on June 22.

In March, Virgin Trains reopened its First Class lounge at London Euston station following renovation works (see news, March 21).

Graham Smith

Read more about...

Bookmark with:


7griffinjack - 19/06/2014 14:47

Virgin hasn't "won" as it was the only candidate. The franchise has essentially been extended.

BarbicanTraveller - 20/06/2014 17:31

"and provide an extra 5,500 standard class seats per day."

Well Virgin have failed BIG TIME to yield manage their First Class product. Rather than removing First Class seats perhaps they should manage their inventory better and fill the First Class seats!


Login details

To add a comment, please enter your email address and password.

Keep me signed in until I sign out

New users

If you are not already registered with us, please enter your email address and chosen password above, and also complete the details below. Your screen name will be displayed on our website.

Your message


Business travel trends: smart luggage

Business travel trends: smart luggage

Last year, 23 million suitcases were mishandled or lost by airlines. Here we review smart luggage and tracking devices designed to solve the problem
Read more »

Delta B767-300ER Delta One

Delta B767-300ER Delta One

A review of the business class cabin onboard a Sunday flight from London Heathrow Terminal 4 to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International
Read more »

New British Airways boss denies he will “Ryanair-ise” airline

New British Airways boss denies he will “Ryanair-ise” airline

No decision made on removing short-haul catering but BA needs to be more competitive
Read more »