Virgin Trains claims to have seen a surge in cross-border travel bookings after announcing increased services between Edinburgh and London.
A new timetable with 42 additional trains connecting the UK and Scottish capitals every week has been launched as part of a £140m investment programme in the east coast route. This will add 22,000 seats to the weekly capacity, and mean there is a near half-hourly service between the capitals.
Virgin Trains says it has already seen bookings for journeys across the border in the first two months of the new timetable increase by 15% compared with the same period last year.
The uplift in journeys was welcomed by the Secretary of State for Scotland David Mundell, who launched the new timetable in Edinburgh today. He said: “Good connectivity between London and Scotland is vital for our economic security, so this improved Virgin service is really good news. More trains between Edinburgh and London – and all the stops in between – will mean more choice and flexibility for rail travellers in Scotland. It will make it easier for Scottish businesses to reach customers and markets right across the UK. These new services will also bring more visitors to Scotland, helping to boost jobs and prosperity. The UK Government is investing more than £38 billion in the UK’s rail network to improve services across the country. This is part of a long-term plan to improve our transport infrastructure and it is only possible because of the action we have taken to deliver a strong economy over the last six years.”
The timetable was also welcomed by civic leaders in Newcastle, which has benefited from the increased cross-border connectivity.
Virgin Trains has unveiled ambitious plans to persuade more people to switch from air to rail travel between the UK and Scottish capitals by investing in service and timetable improvements.
It is today launching free wi-fi for all customers who book on the virgintrainseastcoast.com website and a new First Class menu overseen by British chef and TV presenter James Martin. This will include a new range of specially created seasonal menus showcasing fresh, local flavours and championing producers on the train operator’s route. New exciting food options will be rolled out for Standard customers in Autumn.