Virgin want passengers to help shape future of rail service

The first Virgin East Coast train at the launch of Virgin Trains East Coast at London's King's Cross station. Photo: David Parry/PA Wire EMN-150303-144918001
The first Virgin East Coast train at the launch of Virgin Trains East Coast at London's King's Cross station. Photo: David Parry/PA Wire EMN-150303-144918001

Sleaford area rail users will be able to bid for a share of a £3 million fund set up by Virgin Trains for innovative ideas to help shape the future of the company’s East Coast network.

Virgin Trains, who have been awarded the East Coast franchise until March 2023, will set aside £500,000 each year from 2017 for the best ideas.

David Horne, managing director of Virgin Trains East Coast, said: “The £3m fund allows our passengers to shape the future of their train line like never before.”

The fund will be used for projects suggested directly by Virgin Trains East Coast customers and their communities and is in addition to the £140m already committed to the franchise by the Stagecoach/Virgin partnership.

Mr Horne added: “Passengers using the East Coast mainline are already set to benefit from hundreds of millions of pounds of infrastructure investment and service improvements over the next decade.

“Asking the communities along the route what they want will also complement the major programmes we are committed to around helping young people and small businesses along one of Britain’s most important train lines.”

Stagecoach Group and Virgin have been running the West Coast mainline since 1997.

With their East Coast service, the partnership says it aims to transform the customer experience for around 20 million journeys a year on one of the UK’s major inter-city rail routes. That will include the introduction of 65 new ‘Super express’ trains from 2018.