- Thousands of visitors taking advantage of Virgin Trains’ reduced fares from England
- Visitor numbers to Glasgow surge over festive period
- The best shopping experience in the UK outside of London is just a short train ride away
THOUSANDS more shoppers are crossing the border with Virgin Trains to enjoy Glasgow’s Christmas attractions, new figures show.
The number of people taking advantage of reduced day return fares from the North of England in the run up to the festive period has grown by more than a quarter in just three years.
On the back of this success, Virgin Trains has cut the cost of a day return “Shopper” ticket to Glasgow by a third, valid on any train after 9.30am.
Return fares are available for just £17 from Carlisle, £22 from the Lakes (Oxenholme and Penrith) and £27.50 from Preston. First Class returns are available from between £35 and £56 from Carlisle/Preston respectively until the promotion ends on January 6.
Last year, nearly 15,000 people took advantage of Virgin Trains’ flexible Shopper tickets between November and early January, a 28% increase on 2014/5.
The number of people making planned festive trips from Northern England has also surged. Last December, the number advance journeys in December between Glasgow and Preston, Lancaster and Cumbria rose to 5700 a week, nearly a third higher than in 2013.
Michael Stewart, Virgin Trains General Manager for Anglo-Scottish services, said the growing reputation of Glasgow as a shopping and leisure destination and faster train journeys was drawing more people to visit from as far as Preston.
“Glasgow’s world class shopping, Christmas markets, attractions and atmosphere makes it the perfect day out and we are seeing lots more people from the north of England taking advantage of our reduced fares in the run-up to Christmas. With three Virgin Trains services every two hours to Glasgow, it’s a quick and enjoyable way to visit Scotland’s biggest city,” he said.
In recent years, Glasgow has cemented its reputation as a festive destination, with heavily-attended popular Christmas markets established in its George Square and St Enoch Square alongside the city’s world-famous “Style Mile” retail district propelling Glasgow to the position of the UK’s leading shopping destination outside of London.
Throughout December, visitors to Glasgow city centre can benefit from late night shopping at more than 1500 shops and an exciting programme of fun events for all the family as part of Glasgow Loves Christmas, the city’s annual festive marketing campaign managed by Glasgow Life.
Councillor David McDonald, Chair of Glasgow Life and Depute Leader of Glasgow City Council, said: “We welcome Virgin Trains’ ongoing commitment to Glasgow and we’re delighted that this great value offer will once again make the city even more accessible to leisure visitors from the North of England throughout the festive season. As the success of this joint promotion shows, flexible, affordable rail travel together with a compelling destination offering is a winning combination for Glasgow. As the UK’s largest and most successful shopping destination outside London with a huge selection of world-class brands and retailers we’re confident there’s something to suit every shopper and budget. Together with a packed programme of magical events and festive fun, it’s true that Glasgow Loves Christmas like nowhere else.”
Book your ticket now at www.virgintrains.co.uk.
For more information on Glasgow’s spectacular festive programme, visit www.glasgowloveschristmas.com
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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