The Virgin story

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How Virgin Trains led the transformation of travel on the West Coast Main

1997

The first Virgin Trains service leaves Euston to mark the start of the amazing journey

1997

Virgin Trains becomes the first train operator to sell tickets over the phone

1998

thetrainline.com’ launches and Virgin Trains becomes the first UK train operator to offer tickets for sale over the internet

2001

First new Super Voyager train operates in passenger service from Birmingham to Manchester

2002

Pendolino carries first passengers into Manchester, heralding the start of the transformation

2002

Virgin Trains becomes the first operator to introduce ‘Thunderbird’ rescue locomotives using a pool of Class 57s

2004

‘Red Revolution’ event as Prime Minister Tony Blair launches tilting trains

2005

Last loco-hauled service operates as new Pendolino and Super Voyager fleets take over all services

2008

‘Virgin High Frequency’ timetable slashes journey times and increases frequencies to key destinations

2012

Most Pendolinos lengthened from nine to 11 coaches and four new 11-car Pendolinos delivered to keep up with growing demand

2014

New services launched linking Blackpool and Shrewsbury to London

2015

Continued investment in Pendolino fleet as first train re-enters service with a First Class coach converted to Standard

2015

Automatic Delay Repay, another UK first, offers automatic compensation for delayed trains

2016

Launch of BEAM, Virgin’s revolutionary, award-winning on-board entertainment service

2016

Open plan ‘Station of the Future’ concept unveiled at Birmingham International

2018

First Pendolinos reach Blackpool (and its beach) as additional direct services to London launched

2018

Virgin Trains permanently scraps Friday afternoon peak restrictions out of Euston

2019

Virgin Trains franchise ends after 22 years of transforming travel on the West Coast main line