Extra train from Liverpool to London for FA Cup Final at Wembley

27 April, 2012 (12:01) | News | By: Rail Britain - Marcus Kerr

Virgin Trains, with East Midlands Trains and Network Rail, to provide an additional return train service for Liverpool fans between Liverpool and London, using an alternative route which avoids engineering work on the direct West Coast route to London

The extra train, which will have 470 standard class seats, will run southbound on Saturday 05 May at 09:25 and will run to London St Pancras. The return train will leave St Pancras at 10:45 on Sunday 06 May. Journey time will be just over four hours. Fares will be £25 each way and can be booked at any staffed railway station. These special fares cannot be booked through online systems. A reservation is compulsory for travel on this train and anyone without a valid travel ticket and reservation specifically for these trains will not be allowed onboard

Football fans without reservations for the train to London St Pancras are reminded that, due to major engineering works on the direct route from Liverpool to London Euston on Saturday 05 May, they will need to travel via Manchester or Chester, or use Stoke-on-Trent station. However the decision by the Football Association for a 17:15 kick-off means there are no options for fans to return north the same day after the game

With the West Coast route out of London closed on Sunday 06 May, the earliest direct trains that fans could use to return to Liverpool would be on Monday 07 May

Brompton Dock cycle hire arrives in Manchester

28 March, 2012 (13:16) | News | By: Rail Britain - Marcus Kerr

The UK’s most innovative cycle hire scheme launches at Manchester Piccadilly in partnership with Virgin Train

Brompton Dock Ltd, sister company of Brompton Bicycle, has today (27 March 2012) announced a partnership with Virgin Trains to introduce Manchester’s first fully-automated ‘smart’ cycle hire scheme at Manchester Piccadilly station

From Tuesday 03 April 2012, residents, commuters and visitors to Manchester will be able to hire a British hand-made folding Brompton bike from a Brompton Dock located just outside Piccadilly station. With no restrictions on public transport and train operators allowing them on their network during peak hours, the Brompton bike is set to become a mainstay on the streets in and around Manchester

Brompton Dock has been created with the purpose of integrating cycling into people’s daily lives across Manchester. The dock will house up to 40 Brompton bikes, with every step of the customer journey designed to make bike hiring fast, flexible, convenient and secure

To become a member, users simply register by visiting www.bromptondock.co.uk and then choose a suitable tariff. Once registered, members will then be sent a personal four-digit pin number. To take out a Brompton bike, all members need to do is send a text to 07800 008 078, including the dock number and their personal pin, following which they will receive a text with a bay number and an access code to take their bike out. Members can then keep the bike for as long as they want, whether it’s for one hour, one week or even a year

Olympic and Paralympic Timetable boosts Rail Services for London 2012 Games

25 May, 2011 (00:00) | News | By: Rail Britain - Marcus Kerr

The Olympic and Paralympic timetable, being drawn up by Network Rail and train companies with input from the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA), will include :
More than 2,000 extra services during the Olympic Games;
More than 1,500 extra services during the Paralympic Games;
Earlier starts to services;
More maximum-length trains;
Extended peak-hour periods offering more frequent trains and;
Later evening trains leaving London to reach major cities

East Coast urges travellers to book ahead for Olympic Games

10 March, 2011 (00:00) | News | By: Rail Britain - Marcus Kerr

London 2012 spectators can buy travel tickets 12 months in advance

East Coast is urging travellers planning a trip to next year’s Olympic and Paralympic Games events in London, Newcastle and Glasgow to plan ahead and take advantage of special travel packages and extra train services.

Train operators including East Coast have been working with the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) to offer spectators travelling to the Olympic and Paralympic sporting venues spectators an unprecedented chance to buy train tickets a full year in advance, allowing them to plan their travel as soon as they have their sports event tickets.

2012 Games train fares, which will be able to be purchased through a dedicated website or on a special telephone number, will go on sale shortly after customers are notified what event tickets they have been allocated in June. Spectators must travel with their Games sporting event ticket for the dedicated 2012 Games train fare ticket to be valid.

The tickets will be competitively priced. Discounts, such as the standard 50 per cent child reduction, and discounts available to national Railcard holders, will be available.

The travel packages have been designed to be flexible, to enable spectators to change the time they return should an event be unexpectedly rescheduled – or if they simply choose to remain longer.
East Coast is also planning to add extra services and seats to take spectators to and from the Games events, especially those staged in London. Additional services starting earlier and finishing later will be provided from stations in Yorkshire and the North East, giving spectators time to enjoy the events and travel home afterwards.

East Coast’s Commercial Director Peter Williams said: “The Games will be an amazing and exciting series of events, and the best way to be a part of it will be to travel by train.

“We are already putting a lot of planning effort into ensuring that our services run smoothly and take many thousands of spectators safely and comfortably to and from the Games.”

A special Games train timetable, developed by train operators including East Coast, and Network Rail, will be announced prior to train tickets going on sale in June. Network Rail has suspended all improvement works on rail routes serving Games venues for almost three months in Summer 2012, starting four weeks prior to the Games through until the end of the competition.

Ticketed spectators travelling to London will also be given a Games Travelcard with their London sports event ticket, allowing them to reach their destination venue via National Rail or Transport for London services.

East Coast and other train operators have been working hard for months alongside Network Rail and the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) to create a rail ticket to the Games which allows advance booking up to a year ahead, plus flexible travel conditions.

Lord Sebastian Coe, Chair of the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG), said: “London 2012 is a Games for the whole nation, and we want as many people as possible from all around the country to get to the Games. With Olympic and Paralympics Games tickets on sale to the public from 15 March to 26 April, these new 2012 Games train fares from Britain’s train companies will help spectators plan their Games”.

Wrexham & Shropshire to close

26 January, 2011 (00:00) | News | By: Rail Britain - Marcus Kerr

Train company Wrexham & Shropshire today announced that, following an investigation into all possible alternatives, the company will cease operations on Friday 28th January 2011

The organisation cited the unprecedented economic environment as a contributing factor and although the company has strived to increase passenger numbers, it has been determined that the business has no prospect of reaching profitability. Wrexham & Shropshire is not insolvent nor is it being placed in administration and all outstanding financial commitments will be met. Alternative employment opportunities within the railway industry are being sought for the 55 employees, and all staff wages and full redundancy entitlements will be paid

The company has undertaken a series of activities in an attempt to move the business into profit. In 2009 the original service of five trains per day was reduced to four. This was followed in December 2010 when two lightly used services were combined to reduce the service to three trains per day. In addition, an agreement was reached with sister company Chiltern Railways to assist with their capacity and the company investigated opportunities for operational and management synergy between Wrexham & Shropshire and Arriva Trains Wales, also owned by DB. The opportunity to generate income by serving Wolverhampton, after April 2012 when contractual restrictions are expected to be removed, was also considered

Wrexham & Shropshire launched in April 2008, restoring direct train services between Wrexham, Shropshire and London. The company quickly developed a reputation for excellence in customer service, which was rewarded in autumn 2010 with a 99% customer satisfaction score in the benchmark National Passenger Survey. Despite strong growth in passenger numbers, the business has not been able to generate sufficient revenues to cover more than 65% of the cost of operating the service and in 2010 alone suffered losses of £2.9 million

Chairman Adrian Shooter said: “Even though we are forced to close the business, we remain extremely proud of what we have achieved with Wrexham & Shropshire; with many stating that we set the standard for all other train companies to follow. I would like to pay tribute to Andy Hamilton, Managing Director, and everyone in the Wrexham & Shropshire team. Our people are the best in the business and have set the standard for others to follow.”

The company also expressed gratitude to the local community for their support of the business including the many volunteers who gave up their time to hand out flyers and those individuals and organisations who have worked to encourage people to use the service

The last train to depart will be the 1830 train from London Marylebone to Wrexham General on Friday 28th January 2011. From Saturday 29th January, all Wrexham & Shropshire tickets already purchased will be valid on alternative routes into London Euston operated by Arriva Trains Wales, London Midland and Virgin Trains, and from London Marylebone by Chiltern Railways

The Wrexham & Shropshire customer service centre will remain open to provide customer support. Customers wishing to speak to an adviser should call 0845 260 5200 (local call rate from anywhere in the UK)


Virgin Trains Great British Breakfast weekend trial is extended

3 July, 2009 (00:00) | News | By: Rail Britain - Marcus Kerr

Glasgow gets the First Class taste of Great British Breakfast as weekend trial is extended

The trial of a Great British Breakfast bargain on selected Virgin Trains at weekends has proved so popular it is to be extended

Glasgow passengers will also be able to enjoy a full complimentary cooked breakfast on Saturdays and the experiment to test demand will continue on routes between London Euston and Birmingham, Wolverhampton, Liverpool, Preston and Manchester

The original trial on 16 trains each weekend during June is extended to weekends up to Sunday 26 July, but involving 17 trains from Saturday 4 July. The extra train on Saturdays will be the 0940 from Glasgow Central, with catering from there, Carlisle and Oxenholme. Catering service in 1st Class on the 1030 London Euston to Glasgow Central on Saturdays will also apply north of Preston, having previously been south of Warrington only

Complimentary breakfast will be available at-seat in First Class on the chosen trains, with a brunch option later in the morning and early afternoon on some trains

A Weekend First upgrade costs an extra flat-rate £15 per single journey on Virgin Trains for holders of most Standard Class tickets, but people travelling with Standard Anytime tickets can upgrade without making any extra payment. At-seat food service is complimentary in First Class on the trains involved in the trial until 26 July. The original catering trial with 16 trains each weekend began on 6 June and was originally due to run until 28 June

The Virgin Trains promotional theme of ‘Weekends are back!’ is emphasised by the opening of First Class Lounges on stations at weekends for the first time, also to test the leisure market for facilities that are already enjoyed Mondays to Fridays when business people are travelling

Wii-fi is also available free in First Class on Virgin Pendolino trains and First Class Lounges at weekends on the same basis as weekdays, so those who trade up can also save at least £5 compared to the hourly charge in Standard Class

“The offer of complimentary food, served at your seat as a trial to test the market, is being extended to encourage even more people to trade up to First Class at weekends. They will also enjoy the benefits of unlimited free wi-fi access, which is charged at an hourly rate in Standard,” said Bob Powell, On Board Director for Virgin Trains

“Customers in First Class already enjoy our unique at-seat service of complimentary ‘Best of British’ food between Mondays and Fridays, something no other train operator provides within Britain. Now this is available on selected trains at weekends too when leisure travellers can enjoy the experience,” Mr Powell added

The Great British Breakfast offers outdoor-reared British pork and herb sausage, sweetcure back bacon, free-range fried egg, potato rosti and grilled tomato (or there is an equivalent vegetarian grill). Alternatively, customers can have a roll with bacon or sausage or vegetarian sausage, or a fruit plate. The main course is accompanied by toast and marmalade, orange or grapefruit juice, water and tea or coffee

Later, brunch is offered. This is the breakfast menu but with the option of a “light bite” snack as an alternative

The usual weekend offering of tea, coffee and biscuits will continue to be available at other times

The trial will be available on these trains :

Saturdays to 25 July

0940 GLASGOW CENTRAL TO LONDON EUSTON (for passengers joining at Glasgow, Carlisle and Oxenholme The Lake District)
1023 EUSTON - WOLVERHAMPTON, 1030 EUSTON - GLASGOW CENTRAL (food offer extended north of Preston, including passengers joining at Lancaster, Oxenholme and Carlisle; previously only south of Warrington)

Sundays to 26 July


Summer 2009

23 May, 2009 (21:00) | Journey review 2009 | By: Rail Britain - Marcus Kerr

I will be undertaking a 14 day First Class All Line Rail Rover, commencing on Saturday 20 June 2009
Sadly the cost increased to £990 from 16 May 2009, but it is still cheaper than buying separate tickets

The ticket was purchased today at Glasgow Central

You can follow each days travel as it happens
In most cases there will be an update for each leg of the journey

National Express resumes seat reservation charges

17 May, 2009 (00:01) | News | By: Rail Britain - Marcus Kerr

National Express are planning to reintroduce seat reservation charges
A charge of £2.50 for reserving a single or £5.00 for a return will apply from Sunday 17 May 2009 on East Coast and East Anglia services

This does not apply to :
advance purchase tickets,
first class tickets,
season tickets,
customers with a disabled railcard or assisted passengers