Tourism Industry News

Record Christmas Sales at Virgin Trains Despite the Snow

05/01/2011 12:07

LONDON, (PRNewswire/ -- Virgin Trains had record sales during the run-up to Christmas, despite some of the worst December weather for more than 40 years.

Ticket sales increased 5% during the seven days leading up to Christmas (December 18-24), compared to the same period in 2009. More than 430,000 tickets were sold during the week on the West Coast line, serving Scotland, North-West England, north Wales and the Midlands.

The rise came as Virgin Trains maintained a full advertised timetabled service throughout most of the week before Christmas, in spite of snow that closed many airports and brought the road network to a standstill.

Virgin Trains ran services to all destinations throughout the freezing conditions, and staff and partners such as Network Rail, and train maintenance companies Alstom and Bombardier worked around the clock to ensure services kept going. This meant that, during December, Virgin Trains ran well over 90% of services on its 750-mile network.

Many travellers who abandoned flights to and from Ireland decided to travel by train and ferry and others took the train to and from Glasgow rather than risk heavy airport disruption. Thousands more customers also travelled with Virgin Trains after their services on other routes were disrupted, although these figures are not included in the record sales.

Virgin Trains also saw a record number of seat reservations made over the two-week period (December 15-January 3) with over 620,000 made, up 14% on the previous year.

Chris Gibb, COO, said "The period ahead of Christmas was extremely difficult for customers and staff but I am proud that we maintained a service throughout, working closely with our partners in the rail industry. The increased ticket sales show that our customers appreciated the level of service we were able to offer in very difficult circumstances."

Notes to Editors:

Images of Virgin Trains and the company's operations are available in the Image Library on our online Media Room website

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Virgin Trains is the brand name of Virgin Rail Group. We have operated the West Coast passenger train franchise since 1997; the current franchise runs to March 2012.

Virgin Rail Group is owned 51 percent by Virgin Group and 49 percent by Stagecoach

Virgin Trains has been recognised in numerous industry awards. In 2010 the company has been named Best Rail Operator of the Year at the Travel Globe Awards (voted for by readers of the Daily Mail, Mail on Sunday and Evening Standard), and Best Rail Operator in the Group Leisure Awards (which we also won in 2009). In 2009 we were also voted Best UK Domestic Train Service by Business Traveller magazine for the second year running. Virgin Trains first achieved Investors In People accreditation in 2007and this was renewed in 2010.

                       For further information contact the
                 Virgin Trains Press Office on +44-845-000-3333

Source: Virgin Trains

For further information contact the Virgin Trains Press Office on +44-845-000-3333

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