Virgin Trains

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Virgin Trains
Virgin Trains logo
A Pendolino from Virgin Trains
Basic information
company West Coast Trains Limited
and duration
InterCity West Coast
March 9, 1997 -
April 2019
Parent company Virgin Rail Group
( Virgin Group 51% /
Stagecoach Group 49%)
fleet 56 British Class 390
20 British Class 221
Train stations 42 (17 managed)
Main line London (- Birmingham) - Liverpool (Merseyside) / Manchester - Lancaster - Carlisle - Glasgow - Edinburgh
Branch line London– / Scotland - Holyhead

Virgin Trains is a British railway company . Although the company appears with the well-known logo of the Virgin Group , this group only owns 51 percent of the share capital. The remaining 49 percent are owned by the Stagecoach Group .


The company was founded after British Rail was privatized in the mid-1990s. Virgin Trains successfully applied for two national intercity -Verkehrskonzessionen in franchising . The first concession included the operation of the InterCity trains on the West Coast Main Line .

Virgin Trains also operated the cross-country route franchise until November 10, 2007 . However, this has since been restructured and assigned to other operators. The largest part went to Arriva , which now markets it under the CrossCountry brand. The previous trains for the destination Birmingham - Glasgow , which were previously operated by Virgin Cross Country, have been added to the West Coast franchise. The trains between Manchester and Scotland went to the First Group .

The remaining West Coast franchise was originally supposed to expire in 2012, but was extended to early 2013 in favor of a longer tender and review. In August 2012 it was finally announced that Virgin Trains had lost the new tender and that the franchise should be operated by the First Group as First West Coast from December 2012 . However, due to an incorrect invitation to tender, this decision was revised and Virgin Trains was granted the route rights again for at least one year until another round of awarding of contracts takes place.

Between March 2015 and June 2018, a sister company of Virgin Trains, Virgin Trains East Coast , operated intercity traffic on the East Coast Main Line , replacing the previous operator East Coast . Virgin owned only 10% of the shares in this operating company, Stagecoach 90%.


The modern British Class 390 , called Pendolino, is used on most routes . British Class 221 , known as SuperVoyager , is also used on the routes that end in Wales and Scotland and operate on the West Coast Main Line .

In addition, Virgin Trains has a push-pull train consisting of 9 Mark 3 passenger cars, a Class 82 control car and a Class 90 locomotive. This train was extensively redesigned at Wabtec in Doncaster in 2009 and equipped with new seats, sockets and Wi-Fi, among other things. The interior was brought up to the Pendolinos stand, so that the train was nicknamed “Pretendolino”.

Existing vehicles
model series image Type V / max passenger
number Construction year
British class 221 Virgin trains 221113 glasgow.jpg Railcar ( diesel ) 200 km / h 5 20th 2001-2002
British class 390 390029 'City of Stoke-on-Trent' at Birmingham New Street.JPG Railcar ( electric ) 200 km / h 9 21st 2001-2004
11 35 2009–2012

Route network

A map showing the off-peak service pattern every hour

Virgin Trains' route network is grouped into six routes departing from London and Birmingham :

Individual evidence

  1. ^ - Transport minister Philip Hammond delays Virgin Trains' west coast sale May 15, 2011
  2. - Great Britain: First West Coast wins InterCity West Coast Franchise  ( page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. 20th August 2012@1@ 2Template: Dead Link /  
  3. - Virgin to run West Coast route 'for at least nine months' (English) October 15, 2012
  4. Railway Magazine: East Coast's Red Revolution , March 3, 2015 ( Memento of the original from March 4, 2016 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. , accessed on May 15, 2015 @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  5. a b - Our routes & stations (English) accessed on March 24, 2012

Web links

Commons : Virgin CrossCountry  - collection of images, videos and audio files
Commons : Virgin Trains  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files