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The Waiting Room pub launched at Virgin Trains' Durham Station

Press Release   •   Mar 16, 2018 10:03 GMT

Graeme Robinson (left) with Chris Cunningham (right)

The former ladies first-class waiting room at Durham station has been transformed into an aptly-named alehouse with the help of Virgin Trains.

The Waiting Room, located on Platform 2, opened its doors after undergoing extensive renovation work including restoring many original features including two Victorian fireplaces that had been boarded up and caked in several layers of paint. Virgin Trains helped to bring the building, dating back to 1872, back to its former glory paying for the original stonework to be scrubbed down and the structure to be made watertight. Virgin Trains also provided electricity and drainage to the site. The original bay window has been reinstated and the walls have been painted in a dark green to complement the exposed wood panelling.

The owner of The Waiting Room, Graeme Robinson, is a former University Facilities Manager and grandson of a signalman who decided to follow his passion for real ales and open a pub. His love of regional ales is evident with an array of draught and bottled beers from breweries such as Durham, Allendale and Hadrian Border. Credit also is due to the generosity of the Railway Heritage Trust who donated a five-figure grant to the pub.

Graeme Robinson, owner of The Waiting Room said: “I’m very pleased with the reception so far to my first pub. Regular commuters and locals have embraced it and we look forward to the development of the outside seating area ready for the Summer!”

Chris Cunningham, General Manager for Virgin Trains east coast said: “We’re proud to be playing a part in celebrating the long history of Durham station here today at the opening of The Waiting Room. Virgin Trains is committed to promoting history and heritage, and we’re thrilled with the transformation of this space into a beautiful alehouse and a fantastic place for customers to relax.”

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 over £40m in our existing fleet, including £21m refurbishing interiors and £16m towards improving the engines of our trains. Customers can now benefit 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. 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.

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