2013 looks like being a busy and successful year for Virgin Trains, which is backing this year’s Depot Team of the Year at the RailStaff Awards.
Says Tom O’Connor of the Rail Media Group, ‘We are delighted to welcome Virgin Trains back to the RailStaff Awards. Virgin is running more trains than ever and is poised to further increase services from this December. Depot staff are an integral part of the operation.
The RailStaff Awards provides a great opportunity to salute the efforts of those who work behind the scenes to provide a fast and reliable fleet day and night. The success of the modern railways owes much to the hard work and ingenuity of railway depot teams across the network. This is particularly in evidence on the heavily trafficked West Coast Main Line.’
The DfT announced on 26 March 2013 a programme for letting future franchises, with the long- term West Coast franchise expected to start in April 2017. New initiatives are coming on stream this autumn. From December Anglo-Scottish services will be expanded with more and longer trains between Birmingham, Glasgow and Edinburgh.
Says Chris Gibb, chief operating officer, Virgin Trains, ‘A top performing fleet that consistently impresses our customers means hard work and dedication and we have that commitment from our staff and depot teams. It’s our winning ingredient.
With more passengers and more services the role of depot teams has never been more important. We are very pleased to be taking part in the RailStaff Awards, an industry–wide initiative that recognises the continuing success story of our railway.’
The December timetable is the latest step change in improvements to Anglo-Scots services by Virgin Trains. In 2004, the company introduced its tilting electric Pendolino and diesel Super Voyager trains, revolutionising travel on the West Coast mainline and cutting the fastest Glasgow Central to Euston journey from 5 hours 13 minutes to 4 hours 41 minutes. The Scotland- Birmingham service was developed as part of the Virgin Cross Country franchise before transferring to West Coast in 2007.
The establishment of the Virgin High Frequency timetable following the £8.9bn West Coast Route Modernisation programme in December 2008 cut typical Glasgow-Euston journeys by more than 40 minutes and established the fastest 4hr 8min journey. In December 2012, Virgin Trains introduced an hourly London- Glasgow timetable.
Virgin Trains currently operates 30 trains in each direction between Scotland and England, 15 of which operate between Glasgow and London Euston.