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Virgin Trains scraps Friday afternoon peak restrictions

Press Release   •   Nov 01, 2018 13:15 GMT

Virgin Trains has consigned Friday afternoon peak restrictions from London Euston to history, enabling thousands of people to start the weekend earlier, for less.

Restrictions will be removed permanently from 2 November 2018, following a 13 week trial that has also helped dramatically reduce congestion on key evening services.

During the trial, the popular 19:00 London Euston to Manchester service saw the average maximum number of passengers fall by 61%. Normally this would be the first service available for passengers with off-peak tickets. Similar benefits were seen on the West Midlands route where the average maximum number of passengers on the 19:03 London Euston to Birmingham New Street fell by 75%.

Impact of Friday Peak Removal on first off-peak service

 

Over the course of the trial in excess of 3,500 additional journeys were made each Friday, as visitors flocked to major cities such as Manchester, Birmingham and Glasgow for a weekend break. But despite driving up numbers travelling, the promotion has also led to a reduction in congestion by spreading passenger demand more evenly throughout the day.

“Rather than everyone waiting for the first off-peak train on Friday evening, people can now travel whenever’s convenient for them,” explained Sarah Copley, Commercial Director at Virgin Trains. “This change means we’ve been able to reduce congestion, whilst helping people save money and make an earlier start to their weekends.”

While the cheapest tickets are always available in advance, those who decide to travel on the spur of the moment can now secure a cheaper off-peak ticket any time after 9.30am on a Friday, instead of waiting until 7pm. A customer arriving at Euston Station at 4pm and buying a ticket for the next train to Manchester will see their fare reduced by £125.55.

The decision has been welcomed by both staff and passengers, with positive comments on Virgin Trains internal communications channels and social media feeds.

ENDS

Notes to Editors

Savings by destination:

Birmingham £60.50

Chester £94.55

Coventry £53.50

Glasgow £111.25

Liverpool £115.55

Manchester £125.55

Preston £129.95

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.

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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