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Longer trains for West Coast

More trains and direct services between Birmingham Airport and Glasgow will expand Anglo-Scottish services from december 2013.

A comprehensive timetable overhaul will provide an extra 3,300 seats per day between Scotland and Birmingham. The planned reconfiguration will also deliver the first direct trains from Scotland to Birmingham Airport in six years. Twenty-four of the 28 Scottish services that currently start or terminate in Birmingham will be extended to London Euston, offering new direct rail services to Scotland from Coventry, Milton Keynes and Sandwell & Dudley.

The changes will see five-car diesel Super Voyager trains that connect Glasgow and Edinburgh with Birmingham largely replaced by either double Voyagers, 10-cars, or 9-car and 11-car Pendolinos.

Says Chris Gibb, Virgin Trains’ Chief Operating Officer, ‘Our plans for December represent the latest phase in our development of services on the West Coast mainline, as we strive to make the most of this iconic route by providing more trains and more seats, seven days a week.

‘The success of recent years shows the enduring popularity of the route, and the potential that remains. We face intense competition from airlines, motorways and other train companies, and will continue to drive forward improvements to attract more customers and stay ahead of our competitors, as well as playing a key part in the economic and social development of the Midlands, North West England and Scotland.’

The latest timetable changes follow phenomenal growth in passenger numbers on Virgin Trains’ Anglo-Scottish services since it took over the West Coast passenger franchise in 1997 and marks the first step-change in capacity since the company was awarded a temporary franchise in December 2012. Virgin Trains is now expected to continue running the West Coast passenger service until April 2017.

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