Virgin Trains’ role in transforming rail journeys between Scotland and England has been recognised at a prestigious awards ceremony in Glasgow.
The intercity operator was named as Public Transport Operator of the Year at the Scottish Transport Awards, cementing its reputation as the UK’s leading long-distance rail service.
Virgin Trains has seen strong customer satisfaction levels and record passenger numbers on its east coast and west coast routes over the past year following a raft of investment, innovation and customer service improvements.
On the east coast route between Edinburgh and London, passenger numbers grew by 8% last year as train interiors were overhauled on its entire fleet and 45 additional services between the capitals were added.
On the west coast route, punctuality has improved to record levels and passenger volumes between Glasgow and London have rebounded following the closure of the route in early 2016 due to a bridge failure at Lamington. In a 24-week period to the end of March, passenger numbers were up by 28% compared to two years ago.
Both routes have been boosted by the introduction of the innovative and industry-leading onboard entertainment service, BEAM, which allows customers to stream more than 200 hours of Hollywood blockbusters and popular box sets straight to their device.
Patrick McGrath, Virgin Trains’ Executive Director for Human Resources on the west coast route, said: “This is a wonderful recognition of the hard work Virgin Trains has put in over the last 20 years to transform customer services and improve rail connections between England and Scotland. We have seen investment, innovation and a relentless focus on customer experience which has helped make rail more popular than ever and we want to play a leading role in continuing that great success story.”
David Horne, Managing Director of Virgin Trains’ east coast route, added: “We started our Virgin Trains journey just over two years ago and have already seen a root-and-branch overhaul over the service we provide to customers. Brand new train interiors, more frequent journeys, introduction of an industry-leading entertainment streaming app, BEAM. These have helped drive the amazing 8% growth in passenger numbers between Edinburgh and London last year and we couldn’t be more pleased to be recognised by Transport Times for putting those improvements in place.”
About Virgin Trains:
Stagecoach and Virgin are working in partnership to operate the East Coast and West Coast inter-city routes under the Virgin Trains brand. Together, they are on track to revolutionise rail travel across the UK.
The combined network connects some of the nation’s most iconic destinations including Glasgow, Liverpool, Birmingham, Manchester, Edinburgh, Newcastle, Leeds, York and London.
Virgin Trains is committed to delivering a high speed, high frequency service, offering shorter journey times, more comfortable travel and excellent customer service. Customers consistently rate Virgin Trains as one of the top long-distance rail franchise operators in the National Rail Passenger Survey (NRPS) commissioned by industry watchdog, Transport Focus.
On the East Coast route, £140m is being invested to create a more personalised travel experience. We have already invested £21m to completely revamp our existing fleet and customers can now benefit from 42 additional services (22,000 extra seats) per week between Edinburgh and London. 2018 will see the introduction of completely new Azuma trains being built in the UK by Hitachi.
The West Coast route has a proud record of challenging the status quo – from introducing tilting Pendolino trains, to a pioneering automated delay repay scheme and becoming the first franchised rail operator to offer m-Tickets for all ticket types.