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Virgin Trains Customers set to benefit from new transport partnership in the West Midlands

Press release   •   Aug 07, 2018 09:00 BST

Amanda Hines, General Manager for Virgin Trains in the West Midlands with Councillors Roger Lawrence (left) and Roger Horton (right)

Virgin Trains, West Midlands Rail Executive and Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) have signed a new partnership deal pledging to work together to improve rail journeys in the region.

The focus of the partnership will be around greater use of sustainable transport to and from Virgin Trains stations at Coventry, Birmingham International, Rugby, Stoke-on-Trent and Stafford, roll out of secure cycling schemes, improved signage and passenger information, in addition to closely working relationships with local football clubs and the British Transport Police, to keep passengers moving safely and comfortably on match-days.

Cllr Roger Lawrence, portfolio holder for transport at West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) and chair of the West Midlands Rail Executive, said: “This agreement underlines our commitment to work with network and transport operators in the region to improve people’s journeys.

“We’re particularly pleased Virgin Trains agrees our focus on sustainable transport, especially cycling to stations, is a good way to promote environmentally-friendly and healthy travel choices.

“We are working hard to bring organisations together, to forge partnerships and keep everybody working to ensure train travel is an attractive choice for people living in and travelling to and from the region.”

Amanda Hines, General Manager for Virgin Trains in the West Midlands, said: “We have been proud to serve the West Midlands for the past 21 years. In that time services on the west coast route have been transformed with a number of industry leading initiatives such as Automatic Delay Repay, the roll out of m-tickets and the launch of BEAM, our free entertainment service.

“We look forward to forging stronger relationships with the West Midlands Rail Executive, TfWM and other industry partners, working as one team to strengthen our support for the local economy and the communities we serve.

“Our stations, and the railway, should to be part of the answer and not a barrier to local needs, by providing the associated connectivity required to enhance economic growth and provide access, both inward and outward, for employment, business and leisure.”

Cllr Roger Horton, lead member for rail and Metro on WMCA's transport delivery committee, said: “We’re delighted that Virgin Trains has signed up to an ongoing partnership agreement to outline its commitment to a sustainable, healthy region. We are working hard to represent passengers by creating links with the rail industry to ensure they have a clear focus and shared aims in the West Midlands. 

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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