Athletes Given Helping Hand by Virgin Trains:

By Virgin Trains, PRNE
Monday, September 5, 2011

LONDON, September 6, 2011 -

- Gymnast Beth Tweddle MBE Gets Virgin Pendolino Train Named After her

- With Photo

Gymnast Beth Tweddle MBE is the latest athlete to have their name emblazoned on the front of a Virgin Pendolino train.

Virgin Trains has continued to highlight its sponsorship of the travel for a number of sportsmen and women who hope to represent their country in upcoming major sporting events. Beth was on hand at Liverpool Lime Street station to see ‘her’ train, No. 390022, arrive from London.

The Virgin Trains sponsorship initiative is supported by Alstom, which built and maintains Virgin’s Pendolino train fleet.

The initiative, ‘Supporting British Athletes’, enables a number of sportsmen and women to attend training camps, key competitions and championships up and down the country.  With the numerous events taking place in the run up to the sporting events in 2012 in London and 2014 in Glasgow the ability to train and take part in competitive events is an important part of these athlete’s careers.  

Beth Tweddle is arguably Britain’s most talented gymnast of all time having amassed more titles and medals than any other British Gymnast before her. The three-time world champion has almost single-handedly helped to reinvent British gymnasts in a prestigious career spanning ten years. Her global record now places her in the ‘greatest of all time’ category within her sport. After competing in the 2004 and 2008 Olympics, Beth hopes to make the podium in 2012.

Beth said; “It’s not just about the competition, but also the preparation and lead up, so being able to travel on my namesake will be my lucky charm. I have been fortunate enough to receive many awards and commendations throughout my career. I train to win gymnastic medals and so it will be a real honour to win an Olympic one on home turf!”

Gary Iddon, General Manager, Liverpool at Virgin Trains, said:  ”We think it’s fantastic that Beth has agreed to have one of our trains named after her. As such a well-known athlete we take great pride in being able to help Beth on her journey to the record books and wish her all the best of luck in her up-coming competitions.”

Richard Woodroofe, Alstom Transport UK’s Mainline Operations Director said: “Alstom is delighted to support this initiative with Virgin Trains. We identify with the determination and commitment needed by the athletes to deliver top performance and wish Beth well for the exciting challenges ahead.”

The train  naming comes as rail tickets are already on sale for Games spectators. Extra late night, and some early morning trains, will also be operating on some routes at the time of the games. To book your tickets, visit:

For further information or to book Virgin Trains log on to, telephone 0871-977-4222 or visit any Virgin Trains’ station.

Notes to Editors

Other athletes who have had a Virgin Trains Pendolino names after them are:
Squash player Alison Waters (train 390052)
Cyclist Jessica Varnish (train 390027)

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Virgin Trains is the brand name of Virgin Rail Group (VRG), which is owned 51 percent by Virgin Group and 49 percent by Stagecoach. We have operated the West Coast passenger train franchise since 1997.

The current franchise runs to March 2012 and the Secretary of State for Transport announced on 19 May 2011 that the Department for Transport will seek to agree acceptable terms with VRG for an extension to the current contract to December 2012. We have been short-listed for the new franchise that will start in December 2012.

Virgin Trains has been recognised in numerous industry awards. In 2010 the company has been named Best Rail Operator of the Year at the Travel Globe Awards (voted for by readers of the Daily Mail, Mail on Sunday and Evening Standard), and Best Rail Operator in the Group Leisure Awards (which we also won in 2009). In 2009 we were also voted Best UK Domestic Train Service by Business Traveller magazine for the second year running.

Virgin Trains first achieved Investors In People accreditation in 2007 and this was renewed in 2010; the IIP Gold award was achieved in 2011. In May 2011 Virgin Trains was awarded accreditation against the criteria of the European Foundation for Quality Management’s (EFQM) Excellence Model.

Alstom, who built the Virgin Pendolino trains is also  responsible for the maintenance of the 52 high-speed tilting trains, at depots in Manchester, Wolverhampton, north London, Liverpool and Glasgow.

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For further information please contact Jessica Dixon on +44(0)20-7403-6900 or email jessica.dixon at

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