Virgin Trains Rated Top Long-Distance Franchise

By Virgin Trains, PRNE
Tuesday, June 28, 2011

LONDON, June 29, 2011 -


Virgin Trains has been rated best long-distance franchise
operator for overall satisfaction - in the latest Spring 2011
National Passenger Survey. For the third survey in a row,
passengers gave Virgin Trains the highest rating of any
long-distance franchise operator when asked how satisfied they were
with their overall journey. Ninety percent of those questioned
rated Virgin Trains as satisfactory or good.

Top marks for punctuality and

Figures for punctuality continue to soar, with 92 percent of
customers giving Virgin Trains satisfied/good ratings (up from 89
percent for the same time last year), and 94 percent awarding top
marks for journey times. Once again, these figures are the highest
for any long-distance train operating franchise.

The station and onboard

Overall satisfaction with the station environment remains well
ahead of the sector average, with 82% of customers giving a
satisfied/good rating. The train environment performs ahead of the
sector average in all areas with improvements in comfort,
cleanliness and personal security. It’s also a big thumbs up for
Virgin Trains’ staff with helpfulness and attitude of on train
staff and provision of information during journey, rated 80 percent
and 81 percent respectively.  

Other highlights include…

At stations

  • Overall satisfaction with station ( 82 percent, up from 80
  • Provision of information about train times/platforms (86
  • How requests to staff were handled (86 percent)

On Trains

  • Cleanliness of the inside (88 percent)
  • Upkeep and repair (89 percent)
  • The ease of being able to get on and off (87 percent)

Regional successes

In terms of overall satisfaction on Virgin Trains’ routes,
London-Scotland was the most improved, with 93 percent of customers
giving a satisfied/good rating.

Across the industry, value for money for price of ticket scores
poorly. While Virgin Trains received some of the best scores on
this measure, only 59 percent of customers rated the company good
or satisfactory. This is a disappointing result given the amount of
work that has been done to improve and promote the availability of
our many thousands of excellent value Advance fares on offer every

Tony Collins, Virgin Trains Chief Executive Officer, says: “I’m
absolutely delighted that Virgin Trains has been voted top
long-distance franchise operator - for the third time in a row. The
start of this year was extremely challenging for us with some of
the harshest weather conditions experienced under our stewardship
of the West Coast franchise. We worked round-the-clock to limit
disruption during this time and I think these results reflect our

“Passenger numbers have doubled  from 14 million a year to
over 28 million a year in the last six years and I would like to
thank our passengers for this vote of confidence and pay tribute to
the Virgin Trains’ people who continue to raise the bar in terms of
the service they deliver. Of course, I recognise that there are
areas where we can do more, such as at stations, and I’d like to
assure customers that for the remainder of the franchise we will be
focusing on providing them with best and most reliable service. We
are continuing to work with Network Rail to keep a real focus on
train performance.”

The National Passenger Survey is carried out twice a year - in
Spring and Autumn - by rail watchdog Passenger Focus and is a key
marker of train operating companies’ performance.  

Notes to Editors

Visit our Media Room website - - for an
Image Library of pictures of Virgin Trains and the company’s
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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

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.

The full results are available online on the Passenger Focus

For further media information contact the Virgin Trains Press Office on +44(0)845-000-3333 or visit our Media Room website at

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