- 20 Dec 2013
A possible development on the WCML...
There could soon be two fast trains an hour between Liverpool and London after an application was lodged for 24 more services each day.
It's not yet known exactly how long the new Virgin Trains would take, but stopping at Lichfield, Tamworth, Nuneaton and Liverpool South Parkway, it would be "not far off" the current duration of just over two hours taken by the firm's West Coast trains.
Virgin say the new services, hoped to launch in May 2021, would be the "most advanced and customer-focused" trains, and the transport giant has lodged an 'open access' application to the Office of Rail and Road (ORR).
The firm also claimed the new trains would be "unique" to the UK rail industry.
That's because every ticket would be guaranteed to be at least 10% cheaper than the equivalent offered by competitors - including, in this case, the London Northwestern Railway services operated by West Midlands Trains, which generally take around four hours.
Liverpool Lime Street Station
Each one would also come with a seat reservation for a particular service, meaning everyone is guaranteed a seat - "the only rail service in the UK to guarantee no overcrowding in normal operations".
The provider said if there was disruption on the network and services were busier than normal, passengers who can't get a seat would get a "full refund" of their ticket.
Phil Whittingham, MD of Virgin Trains, said: “Virgin Trains has led the UK rail industry for 22 years.
"We’ve delivered faster and more frequent services, pioneered digital ticketing and shaken up the industry with initiatives such as scrapping the Friday evening peak.
"That’s why we top the independent customer satisfaction charts for long-distance franchises.
“But we want to go further. These new services will allow us to take the customer experience on the UK’s railways to the next level and show the rest of the industry how it can be done.”
According to Virgin, there would also be free Wi-Fi on all services, free films and TV on board, and at-seat on-demand catering services.