Virgin Trains announces £21 million refurbishment for East Coast fleet: first train to enter service in December 2015
Virgin Trains has announced a £21m train refurbishment programme for its fleet of 45 trains on its east coast route. The refurbishment programme comes on top of a rebranding exercise and means that the company will have committed more than £40 million to improving its train fleet since it launched its east coast franchise in March this year, as part of its plans to invest £140 million over eight years.
The £21 million investment will be spent on the complete refurbishment of the train’s interiors. A total of 401 carriages will be overhauled with 24,123 seats replaced along with refurbished toilets, new carpets and curtains. First Class accommodation will benefit from the fitting of leather seats.
Virgin Trains will carry out the work will be carried out at its’ Bounds Green depot in London and its Craigentinny depot in Edinburgh, where it will also fit 35 new engines to its diesel High Speed Train fleet as part of a £16 million contract with engine manufacturer MTU. Further work to the exterior of the fleet takes the total investment to more than £40m.
David Horne, Managing Director of Virgin Trains on the east coast route, said: “Since Virgin started running this railway, the bar has been raised by customers who rightly demand a high quality customer experience, something which they would expect from a Virgin business, as well as getting great value for money.
“And that’s exactly what we’ve been working hard to deliver, with this multi million investment in our trains not only one of the biggest investments of its kind ever seen on the east coast route, but also three years ahead of the introduction of new Super Express Trains as part of the Government’s InterCity Express programme.
“We’re investing now so our customers can benefit from new seats and a great new on-board environment before we get a new fleet of 65 trains from 2018.”
The first fully refurbished train will enter service next month (14th December 2015) when Virgin launches its new service between Sunderland and London.
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.