New Pendolino on Track for Service This SummerBy Virgin Trains, PRNE
Thursday, May 12, 2011
LONDON, May 13, 2011 - A new 125mph Pendolino train will enter service with Virgin Trains this
summer, giving customers another boost as record numbers of passengers flock
to the West Coast Mainline, the Department for Transport (DfT) and Virgin
Trains have agreed.
Virgin Trains and the DfT have joined forces to introduce the tilting
train as soon as it has completed safety testing, expected in July.
The agreement means that the 439-seat train will run on Virgin Trains'
busiest routes, and enable more capacity to be provided on other routes.
The new Pendolino will operate mainly on the Birmingham-Scotland and
London-Glasgow routes, which have seen growth of more than 30% in the last
two years. It will provide 183 more seats than are currently available on the
SuperVoyagers that serve the Birmingham-Scotland route.
A five-carriage SuperVoyager will then be transferred to services between
London and North Wales, meaning that some of the busiest trains on the route
will now have ten carriages.
The number of journeys on Virgin Trains has more than doubled in six
years - from 14m in 2004 to over 28m in 2010 - making it the fastest-growing
franchise over that time. The massive growth has led to very busy services at
some times, and the additional train will help relieve crowding issues.
Transport Secretary Philip Hammond said:
"Tackling crowding and reducing the cost of our railways are two of the
biggest challenges facing the rail industry at the moment. I am delighted
that we have reached agreement to bring these carriages into service ahead of
"But this is just part of the Government's plans to increase capacity for
the West Coast main line - when all the new Pendolino vehicles and trains are
in service in December 2012, there will be 106 new carriages in operation on
"Across the rail network we plan to deliver more than 2,100 new carriages
by 2019. These carriages are already beginning to arrive and, by the end of
the month, 140 additional carriages are expected to be in service."
Tony Collins, CEO of Virgin Rail Group, said: "This is exactly what our
customers want - more seats and space for their journeys. As soon as the
Department for Transport asked for operators to suggest uses for the new
train, we didn't hesitate to put forward our proposals. It shows great
partnership with DfT officials and the minister that we can bring this train
into service as soon as it has finished its testing."
The new nine-carriage train, which arrived in the UK in December, is part
of an 11-carriage Pendolino recently manufactured by Alstom in Italy. Four
11-carriage Pendolino trains are being introduced over the next 18 months. An
additional 62 new Standard carriages will also be added to 31 existing
nine-carriage trains by the end of December 2012.
It is not possible to introduce the full 11-carriage set in the summer,
for operational reasons. The new train - set number 390054 will be increased
to an 11-carriage train as part of the new West Coast franchise, which begins
on 1 April 2012.
Notes to Editors
Virgin Rail Projects Ltd was selected on 31 July 2008 to support the DfT
throughout the design, manufacture, delivery, testing and commissioning of
new 'Pendolino' trains. The extra trains and carriages are being built as
part of a GBP1.5 billion deal between the DfT, Angel trains Ltd and train
The further three new 11 car Pendolino trains and the additional
carriages are currently under construction. The second new train is expected
to be ready to enter into service by 1 April 2012 with trains 3 and 4
following later in the year.
The contract allows for the vehicles to be maintained until 2022.
The extra carriages will deliver a significant increase in capacity for
passengers on the route, providing 7,420 extra seats for passengers on the
West Coast Main Line. The carriages are set to come into full service by
December 2012 and will be used on the busiest routes at the busiest times of
day, although the precise deployment will be up to the next operator of the
West coast Franchise.
The agreement to deploy the first train is subject to contract being
finalised, but the key elements have been agreed between the parties.
For further information contact the Virgin Trains Press Office on
+44(0)845-000-3333, or the Department for Transport Pres Office on
Tags: London, May 13, United Kingdom, Virgin Trains