Virgin propose non-stop rail link to London

Virgin has proposed a non-stop service from Scotland to London, the first such service since the 1930s. Picture: PA
Virgin has proposed a non-stop service from Scotland to London, the first such service since the 1930s. Picture: PA
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VIRGIN Trains yesterday underlined its determination to win more passengers from the airlines by pressing ahead with plans for the first non-stop train service between Glasgow and London since the 1930s, which would cut the journey time to under four hours.

Chief operating officer Chris Gibb told a business breakfast in Glasgow that the plan would involve the west coast main line’s speed limit being raised from 125mph to 135mph in Scotland.

That would make a near-straight stretch of track near Lockerbie the fastest in the UK outside High Speed One - the Channel Tunnel rail link.

Mr Gibb said: “That would be fantastic for Scotland to have the fastest conventional railway in the UK.

“Between Lancaster and Glasgow there has been a degree of upgrade, but huge potential.”

Mr Gibb said cutting journeys from the current four hours 10 minutes fastest time would be a “fabulous headline journey time and capture the public imagination.”

Virgin is negotiating an extension of its franchise to 2017 after the UK Government last year abandoned the competition for the next franchise, admitting civil servants had botched the process.

The train operator was given an interim extension from last December to next year.