Virgin Trains has paid tribute to Jake, their trainspotting dog with the unveiling of a commissioned portrait and a new dog watering bowl at Stafford station.
Over nine years, Jake had been a regular sight at Stafford train station and had become part of the Virgin Trains family; joining the station staff and delighting customers to welcome trains into the platform with lots of lively wags and barks.
Such was his popularity, Jake helped launch the company’s new uniform in 2017. The envy of his canine friends, he was the proud owner of a bespoke dog-friendly uniform, carrying it off in in a way only Jake could.
His untimely loss last year came as a shock to everyone.
“Jake was always guaranteed to put a smile on your face,” explained Fiona Main, Team Leader for Virgin Trains at Stafford. “We wanted to do something to honour his memory and were gobsmacked when one of our design team in London, in their own time, presented us with the portrait.”
“It’s going to be pride of place in the ticket office and will ensure he’s always in our thoughts.”
The dog watering bowl, which can be found in the main concourse, and a handy stop for those travelling with their canine companions, has the simplest of messages.
“Paws for a Refresh. In loving memory of Jake, our trainspotting dog. He loved this station, and we loved him.”
Owner Neil McNamara, who was presented with a copy of the portrait, was overwhelmed by the gesture. “Jake always had a love and fascination for Virgin’s trains! His daily trip to the station was a real highlight for him. I can’t begin to tell you how much this means to me and the family.”
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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