Longer Trains to Enter Service with Virgin Boosting Standard Seats by 50% on West Coast Main Line

Published 19th March 2012

Virgin to Increase Seats by Half From April When Their Longer Trains Have Been Fully Introduced

Virgin’s longer trains will commence regular operations in April providing, they say, an extra 150 Standard Class seats on some of the busiest services on the West Coast Main Line. The longer trains will initially work services on the London to Birmingham route, but as more 11-coach trains come into service they will also operate some of the busiest trains on the Manchester, Liverpool and Glasgow routes.

By the end of April they are expected to be running on over 30 services every weekday with the benefits of the longer trains enjoyed by passengers across the Virgin Trains network.

They Said:

Tony Collins, Virgin Trains Chief Executive Officer said: “Working closely with the Department for Transport we are delighted to be bringing more capacity on to our services. We have listened to feedback from our customers, staff and stakeholders and are putting the longer trains into service where the extra seats are needed the most. The lengthened Pendolinos will provide 589 seats, with over 440 being provided for Standard customers, an increase of over 50% in the number of Standard seats.”

Transport Minister Theresa Villiers 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.

“But this is just part of the Government’s plans to increase rail capacity - across the network we plan to deliver more than around 2,700 new carriages by 2019.”

New Carriages Built at Last After Political Delays

106 new Pendolino vehicles are being built, which comprises four new eleven coach trains and 62 additional vehicles to convert 31 existing nine coach Pendolino trains to 11 coach. When all of the extra carriages are in service they will provide over 10 million extra seats on the West Coast Main Line every year.

The order for these was heavily delayed by the Government who would not make up their mind and this in turn has meant the Virgin Franchise was extended so they could introduce the new and longer trains.

This followed a plea by Virgin that as they had the experience of these trains it would be better for all if they carried on with the project.

Passengers in North Wales saw more capacity provided on Virgin Trains services from Holyhead/Chester-London last year and this will continue to be provided on the route with the busiest trains continuing to be formed of ten coaches.

Rail ‘Conversion’ for London Skolars

The London Skolars are the latest sports team to turn to Virgin Trains to take them to key away matches Virgin has announced.

The club, who play in the third tier of professional Rugby League, are the only southern based club in their division and this means travelling in excess of 4,000 miles this season to fulfil away fixtures. Long coach journeys to and from opposition stadiums often mean that the squad do not arrive back in London until the early hours of Monday morning.

Travelling on Virgin’s 125mph services will reduce the travelling time and also enable the team to arrive refreshed for the match and provides recovery time on the return journey.

They Said:

Skolars Head Coach Joe Mbu said: “Skolars travel more miles to fulfil their fixtures than any other professional Rugby League club and the long hours spent on coaches undoubtedly takes its toll on the players.

“Players will arrive at destinations more refreshed and rested and I also see train travel as a more sociable atmosphere for the players and will also have huge benefits for the player’s wellbeing.”

Arthur Leathley, Virgin Trains Communications Director said: “London Skolars are the latest leading sports team to recognise the benefits of travelling to key matches by train. Athletes value the space and freedom to relax rather than being cramped up in cars. We’re delighted to have the team travelling with us and wish them well for the new season, I am confident they will reap the benefits of travelling with us, that other sporting teams enjoy.”

Virgin Trains currently looks after the long distance travel for 13 of the 20 Premier League clubs including Manchester United whose Manager Sir Alex Ferguson commented: “I would recommend travelling with Virgin Trains to anyone - it's been first class. The preparation going to London is so vital to us and Virgin Trains is part of our team now.”

Virgin Trains provides a tailor-made service, for large groups, who want to book an entire carriage through to an entire train. It is this flexible and personal approach that has attracted many of the leading football clubs to switch to Virgin Trains for their important journeys.

External Links

Liverpool street station in the UK at rush hour

Help and advice with train travel in the UK

Train travel in the UK should be a pleasure, not a headache. So if you’re taking a train on the UK railway, start your journey here. We’ve lots of hints, tips and advice to help you find your way around, travel smoothly and arrive in style by train.

Read more

eurostars passing at 375mph from the drivers seat in france


Welcome to our #railchat page. Our #railchat discussions take place over on Twitter, with our resident expert Phil Marsh. If you would like to get involved, please do join us, and use the dedicated hashtag #railchat. See our previous discussions below:

Read more

Old steam train in Shanty Town Museum

Locomotives & Engines

Our rail network would be nothing without them. From Stephenson's Rocket to British Rail Class 92 and beyond, explore the facts, information and anecdotes behind the steam, diesel and electric locomotives that built the age of the train.

Read more


Latest Tweets


Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh to London Kings Cross by Train

Book in advance with redspottedhanky.com and save 85% advanced bookings.

From £21.00

Buy now

Millenium Dome, London

Birmingham New Street to London Euston by Train

Book in advance with redspottedhanky.com and save 92% on advance bookings.

From £6

Buy now

You may also like...



Follow us on Twitter and become part of our rail community!



redspottedhanky.com is the easy way to buy cheap train tickets online.



Control your business fuel costs with a supermarket fuel card – free to apply, no ongoing account charges and no monthly minimum spend.