Virgin Trains East Coast launched a new range of services to London yesterday from Stirling and Sunderland in response to passenger demand for more early morning departures, Rail Technology Magazine has reported.
A number of local dignitaries travelled on-board both inaugural services, with the rail minister, Claire Perry MP, meeting the new Sunderland service at London King’s Cross Station. She also named the Virgin Train ‘Spirit of Sunderland’.
David Horne, managing director of Virgin Trains on its east coast route, said: ‘This is a hugely exciting day for us as we launch more services, and add Sunderland to the Virgin rail map.’
Virgin Trains has also announced that with immediate effect that it will operate a new evening service between Hull and Doncaster. The new service is intended to open up new travel opportunities for customers seeking to travel to London.
Perry said: ‘It is fantastic to see the start of these new services from Sunderland and Stirling. As a one nation government, we know that transport doesn’t just help hardworking people get around, it helps them get on.
‘These new services will provide better journeys for customers and boost economic ties between Scotland, the north east and London, stimulating growth and helping rebalance our economy.’
A fleet of 65 new Virgin Trains will also be introduced on the East Coast Main Line from 2018 under the Intercity Express Programme. These trains are being built by Hitachi at its plant in Newton Aycliffe, County Durham.
Sunderland to London
Sunderland dep: 05:40
London King’s Cross arr: 09.08
Stirling to London
Stirling dep: 05:26
London King’s Cross arr: 10.52
Hull to Doncaster
Hull dep: 20:28
Brough dep: 20:42
Selby dep: 21:03
Doncaster dep: 21.22