We have known for some time that the Pendolino train fleet, currently operated by Virgin Trains would lose the distinctive Virgin look on repaint. However, as the first train – 390010 – was released from Alstom’s Widnes facility, a nod the Virgin operation has made it onto the train.
Steven Knight Media understands that the original repaint specification was for a plain neutral livery but Virgin Trains seems to have again negotiated a relaxation of the rules and a red area has been added to the driving cars. The Virgin addition, known within the business as ‘flowing silk’, is similar to the design carried by the first of the East Coast Azuma trains.
Virgin says: “the unique new livery builds on the iconic Virgin brand, adding curves, shapes and dynamism, with the flow across the train taking its main inspiration from the natural world… the wind.”
390010 was released by Alstom last week, and following testing, re-entered service from Liverpool Lime Street.
Gone are the cast Virgin Crests on the nose ends and the cast nameplates, which have been replaced by vinyls.
390010 currently carries the name ‘Cumbrian Spirit’ but has also carries the names ‘Commonwealth Games 2002’, ‘Chris Green’ and ‘A Decade of Progress’.
Peter Broadley, Executive Director for Customer, Operations and Safety on the west coast, said: “The Pendolino is widely regarded as the UK’s hardest working train, and has clocked up over 300million miles in the last 15 years. They have been given a fresh lick of paint and will continue to speed customers along the west coast mainline in record time.”
The work was undertaken by the original builders of the train, Alstom, at their newly opened facility in Widnes.
Nick Crossfield, Managing Director, Alstom UK & Ireland, said: “It is a proud day for us, seeing the first of the iconic Pendolino fleet successfully repainted and out on the network again. This is the first work we have completed at our important new Widnes modernisation facility. Not only is it on time and on budget, I am equally proud of the fact we employed eighty people locally, including five new apprentices, to deliver this beautiful new paint job. We look forward to working with Virgin Trains to complete the painting of the rest of their hard working fleet.”
Steven Knight is a Transport Specialist who has over 40 years experience in the bus and rail industries as well as in specialist transport journalism. He is a member of the Chartered Institute of Journalists.