Virgin Trains removes Friday peak restrictions to encourage last-minute adventures

Press Releases   •   Jul 16, 2018 10:17 BST

  • Friday afternoon peak out of London abolished for summer of spontaneity
  • New study finds that 4pm on a Friday is the moment the nation takes to social media to talk about their weekends
  • 93% of all conversations about the weekend on social media embrace and encourage spontaneity
  • Virgin Trains is making spontaneous weekend getaways from London easier this summer by removing afternoon peak restrictions out of London Euston. The move, which covers Fridays from 20th July to 31st August, means that customers who buy an off-peak ticket for a last-minute getaway, or to get home earlier to see family, no longer need to wait for the start of the off-peak on Friday evening.

    Whilst those who like to plan can still bag our cheapest tickets by booking further in advance, if you fancy making last-minute weekend plans this move offers big savings. A customer turning up at Euston Station at 4pm and travelling on the next train to Manchester, this will see the cost of a walk-up fare drop by £125.55 .

    The new promotion comes as research shows we are far from being a nation of queue-loving, stiff upper-lip Brits; in fact, we embrace spontaneity and last-minute decisions for weekend plans. It found that 93% of all social media conversations about the weekend refer to acting spontaneously, with excited conversations kicking in at 4pm on a Friday. Almost 100,000 tweets relating to weekends were analysed, and results show the most prominent hashtags are #spontaneous, #spontaneity, #lastminute, #TGIF and #latedecision.

    Once we arrive at our summer weekend destinations, one in four of us (25%) are posting pictures of beer gardens, 16% are sharing new favourite places to brunch and 15% are snapping the best sunsets. Almost a third (31%) of all tweets about the weekend in fact show that it’s all about scoping out new hidden hotspots in our UK cities.

    Excluding the capital, the most talked about city on the Virgin Trains route was Manchester, accounting for 51% of city specific conversation on Twitter. The top 10 most talked about destinations on social media along the Virgin Trains route are:

    1.Bongo’s Bingo, Liverpool (22%), a larger than life bingo venue

    2.John Ryland’s Library, Manchester (16%), hosting one of the world’s finest collections of rare books and manuscripts

    3.Arthur’s Seat, Edinburgh (15%), an ancient volcano with beautiful views of the city

    4.Chetham’s Library, Manchester (12%), the oldest public library in the English-speaking world

    5.Victoria Baths, Manchester (7%), a listed Edwardian swimming pool and Turkish baths complex

    6.Radio City Tower, Liverpool (4%), observation tower with a 360° panoramic skyline

    7.Kibble Palace, Glasgow (4%), a hidden botanical garden

    8.The Britannia Panopticon, Glasgow (4%), the world’s oldest surviving music hall

    9.Mary King's Close, Edinburgh (3%), a historic building off the Royal Mile

    10.Back to Backs, Birmingham (1%), the city's last surviving court of back-to-back houses

    Sarah Copley, Executive Director Commercial, for Virgin Trains said: “We know the working week is busy for most, with day-to-day routines often not allowing much opportunity to be spontaneous. We see summer weekends as the perfect time to think a little differently about how you choose to spend time in the UK. Our summer promotion will enable Virgin Trains customers to extend their weekends with ease and be more flexible with their plans. We hope as many people as possible will make the most of their summer Fridays starting that little bit earlier, choosing to travel and explore the many great places we visit along the West Coast with friends and family.”

    Customers can book Standard and First Class Advance tickets on the Virgin Trains website here: Advance bookings can often guarantee the cheapest prices on fares.

    – ENDS –

    For further information on Virgin Trains, please contact

    Notes to Editors

    Station Saving

    Birmingham £60.50

    Chester £94.55

    Coventry £53.50

    Edinburgh £13.60

    Glasgow £111.25

    Liverpool £115.55

    Manchester £125.55

    Preston £129.25

    Stafford £75.20

    Stoke-on-Trent £105.20

    (Based on return journey using Anytime ticket outbound and Off-Peak ticket return vs. Off-Peak ticket both ways. See Notes to Editors for table of fares.)

    About Virgin Trains

    Stagecoach and Virgin are working in partnership to operate the West Coast inter-city route under the Virgin Trains brand, revolutionising travel on one of the UK’s key rail arteries.

    The network connects some of the nation’s most iconic destinations including Glasgow, Liverpool, Birmingham, Manchester 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 ahead of other long-distance rail franchise operators in the National Rail Passenger Survey (NRPS) commissioned by industry watchdog, Transport Focus.

    Virgin Trains has a proud record of challenging the status quo - from introducing tilting Pendolino trains, to a pioneering automated delay repay scheme, introducing the industry-leading onboard entertainment streaming service, BEAM, and becoming the first franchised rail operator to offer m-Tickets for all ticket types.

    Virgin Trains operated the East Coast route between March 1, 2015 and June 24, 2018. In that time, we invested £75m to create a more personalised travel experience, including over £40m in the existing fleet. Customers have benefitted from 48 additional services between Edinburgh and London every week, and an extra 22 Saturday services between Leeds and London – a total of 1.74 million additional seats since May 2015.

    Working together, the partnership railway of the public and private sectors has published a long-term plan, called In Partnership for Britain’s Prosperity, to change and improve Britain’s railway. The plan will secure almost £85bn of additional economic benefits to the country whilst enabling further investment and improvement, and contains four commitments which will see rail companies: strengthen our economic contribution to the country; improve customers’ satisfaction; boost the communities we serve; and, create more and better jobs in rail. For more information go to Britain Runs on Rail.

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