Posted 15th February 2016 | 10 Comments
Virgin extends more East Coast services to Scotland
TICKETS for additional Virgin Trains East Coast services to Edinburgh are due to go on sale this Friday (19 February), with the improved service set to follow on 16 May.
VTEC is boosting its intercity timetable between England and Scotland mostly by extending London services which currently start from or terminate at Newcastle.
The change will add 42 Edinburgh services a week, the operator said, with four more in each direction from Monday to Friday and one extra in each direction on Sunday. The extensions will mean that VTEC is offering another 22,000 seats on the route each week.
The revised timetable, which required ORR approval, will mean that there will be a train to or from Edinburgh on the East Coast route every 30 minutes for most of the day from 16 May. VTEC is also extending the 'booking horizon' from 12 to 24 weeks.
VTEC is upgrading its fleets of Mk3 and Mk4 coaches by investing £21 million pounds in leather seats in First Class as well as new Standard seats, carpets and lighting. The upgrade will almost certainly be the last of any significance before the fleets are displaced by Intercity Express trains within the next three to five years.
Government ministers on both sides of the border have welcomed the additional trains, while VTEC managing director David Horne said: “This is a major boost for our customers travelling between Edinburgh and London who will be able to catch a train every half-hour for most of the day. We have seen how increasing capacity and frequency adds to the popularity of train travel and we’re confident that customers will respond positively to these changes. Feedback on our new train interiors, many of which have been fitted out at Craigentinny depot in Edinburgh, has been incredibly positive and customers are telling us they love the fresh, new look.”
The franchise, in which Stagecoach Group has a 90 per cent stake and Virgin Trains 10 per cent, began almost a year ago after the route had been operated by the Department for Transport's subsidiary Directly Operated Railways for five years.
When Stagecoach and Virgin took over the franchise on 1 March 2015, the promised improvements announced then included 'extra and new direct services to London from key locations in Scotland and England and more weekend services'.
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