Passengers flock to extra Virgin Trains East Coast services

Virgin Trains East Coast hopes new Azuma trains in 2018 will lead to further passenger growth.
Virgin Trains East Coast hopes new Azuma trains in 2018 will lead to further passenger growth.
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An extra 5,000 passengers a week have travelled on the Edinburgh-London east coast main line since extra trains were added, Virgin Trains East Coast (Vtec) reported today.

The 7 per cent increase follows more 42 services being introduced in May.

The figures will cheer the 90 per cent Stagecoach-owned firm, for whom passenger growth is imperative to pay for its £3 billion bid to run the franchise.

Analysts said in March it was falling behind targets.

Vtec said the service had been made more attractive by refurbished train interiors and a pioneering free streaming entertainment system which enables travellers to watch films on their mobile devices.

It is counting on further growth when new Azuma trains are introduced in 2018, cutting journey times and providing more seats.

Transport minister Humza Yousaf said: “Cross-Border rail services are an undoubted success and demand continue to grow.

“We look forward to the further planned improvements in quality and journey times, which will improve rail’s attractiveness in this market.”

Vtec managing director David Horne said: “We’re delighted to see the positive response from customers to the improvements we’ve made to Anglo-Scottish services.

“We now offer more trains connecting Edinburgh to Newcastle and London and have invested heavily in improving the quality of these services.”