Where do you want to be? How about a place where you can travel in a faster, more comfortable and greener way? A place where you are greeted with warmth and a smile? Then welcome to Virgin Trains.
We are one of the most experienced train companies in Britain, having been around for over 12 years, sending our Pendolino and Super Voyager trains speeding between different destinations all over the country. But as inspirational as our past has been, it's our future that we really get excited about...
Our Passenger's Charter clearly sets out our ongoing commitment to give you the safe, high quality service you have the right to expect. We wouldn't have it any other way.
Any passenger purchasing a ticket for use on services operated by Virgin Trains should enjoy:
- a reliable and punctual journey
- clean and safe trains and stations
- a Customer Service team member onboard each train to be available to provide assistance if required
- a refreshment service on most trains
- a seat if reserved in advance
Download our Passenger's Charter
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We firmly believe that rail has a clear role to play in sustainable transport, and want to lead the charge. But we're also aware of our impacts, from carbon emissions to air quality, and affordability to security.
That's why we're doing everything we can to minimise the negative, and accentuate the positive.
We want to challenge assumptions, solve problems and deliver innovative solutions. It's just our way. Our corporate responsibility report lays out where we are on that journey. That's where you'll discover our:
- approach to sustainable development in rail
- plans to reduce our carbon footprint while increasing our energy efficiency
- sustainable stations philosophy
- safety and security targets
- approach to sustainable sourcing of our onboard food
- waste and recycling targets
- employee engagement and empowerment programmes
- community work at home and abroad
Download our corporate responsibility report
Download a free PDF reader.
Watch our video about Virgin Group's latest Social Responsibility initiative 'The Big Red Box'.
At Virgin Trains, we always try to perform as best we can. To find out how we're currently doing, just click the links below. Please bear in mind that sometimes we fall short of our targets, but that only serves to fire us up to perform even better.
Please see our Performance information for the most recently completed 4-week period.
Glossary of terms
Public Performance Measure (PPM): The PPM combines punctuality and reliability into a single performance measure. It measures the performance of individual trains against their planned timetable. Punctuality is expressed as the percentage of trains 'on time' compared to the total number of trains planned. For long distance operators, such as Virgin Trains, a train is defined as on time if it arrives within ten minutes (i.e. nine minutes 59 seconds or less). Reliability is a measure of the percentage of trains that are cancelled or do not complete their full planned journey.
Bi-Di (Bi-Directional) signalling: On tracks equipped with Bi-Directional signalling, trains can travel in either direction on a section of track in a controlled manner.
Block joint: A piece of insulating equipment that prevents the electrical current running through the track. Most points and signals operate by means of this electrical current.
Bridge Bash/Strike: When a road vehicle has a collision with a railway bridge. The bridge must then be inspected by a structural engineer before trains can operate over it.
Joint Performance Improvement Plan Target (JPIP Target): The target PPM percentage agreed as achievable by Virgin Trains and Network Rail.
OHLE/OLE: Overhead Line Equipment - provides the electrical power for the trains.
Possession overrun: A possession is a stretch of line handed over to engineering departments for maintenance, on which no trains can run. A possession overrun is when this engineering work goes on for longer than planned.
TC - Track Circuit: Most points and signals operate by means of this electrical circuit running through the rail. The passage of a train through a section completes the electrical circuits, thus operating the signals.
TCF - Track Circuit Failure: A failure of track circuit equipment.
VHF - Virgin High Frequency: A service of more frequent and faster trains, introduced in December 2008.
Of course everyone wants trains to run on time all the time, but the reality is that incidents will sometimes occur that will cause delay. Feedback from customers says that while delays are annoying, concise and helpful information from train operators does help. The rail industry has come together to create a code of practice to help customers when things go wrong, the main aims of which are:
- Make sure that when delays occur customers are quickly offered a consistent and accurate reason
- Where possible advice on alternative arrangements is given allowing customers to make informed choices about their onward travel
- A realistic estimate of how long the delays are likely to last
- To ensure that all information channels are covered - trains, stations, websites, telephones, social media and news media
In our Revenue Protection Policy we outline our arrangements for ensuring that customers pay the correct fare for their journeys. We also set out how we deal with those who do not pay the correct fare in a fair but robust way.
Read our Revenue Protection Policy
In an industry first, Virgin Trains has become one of the first companies in the UK to achieve the coveted Investors in People (IIP) Gold status.
We achieved the accolade in December 2010 by meeting the Gold standard for 191 indicators - 29 more than the 165 required to meet the standard.
The assessors found a very strong sense of pride in the organisation amongst staff. They said that it "spurs people on to perform beyond expectations and offer to help out when there are challenges. Almost without exception people regard the organisation as a great place to work."
Virgin Trains was praised for its Vision, universally regarded as the unique difference between us and our competitors. When looking at employee engagement the assessors found that: "Virgin Trains" people are motivated to achieve the goals of the company and committed to both securing high levels of customer satisfaction and growing the business."
The assessment also found that staff feel they are very well-informed about their job and the company, and that there is a strong learning culture.
Phil Whittingham - Finance Director
Phil became Director, Finance on 1 January 2008. Phil qualified as a Chartered Accountant in 1996 and joined the company from KPMG's Birmingham office in August 1999, where he worked closely with Virgin Trains.
Phil has held various positions in the Finance team, initially having responsibility for business plans and accounts. He was Finance Director of West Coast before joining the Executive team.
Andy Cross - Business Support Director
Andy joined the Virgin Trains Executive Team as Business Support Director in 2007 and is responsible for Procurement, Catering & Logistics, Facilities Management, Customer Relations and IT.
He joined Virgin Trains in 1999 and led the project to replace Virgin Train's entire rolling stock fleet before taking responsibility for Procurement in 2004. Andy previously worked for Train Manufacturer Alstom.
Favourite Activities? Away from the office Andy is a keen golfer and enthusiastic cook.
Little known fact? Andy regularly bakes cakes, breads and pies for his team to bolster spirits and keep up morale!
Graham Leech - Executive Director, Commercial
Over the past decade, Graham has overseen national marketing campaigns, set up thetrailine.com and pioneered the complicated process of managing revenue and capacity on our trains.
Before he joined Virgin Trains, Graham was involved in the launch of Eurostar - a role that combined his love of rail with his interest in Europe and languages. Graham is Chair of the Commercial Board of Association of Train Operating Companies and a Director of National Rail Enquiries.
Graham and his three boys love cricket and are devoted West Ham fans. He also enjoys piano, tennis and golf, and is a member of his local church council.
Best footy moments? "Watching my home team Cheltenham Town win the FA Trophy at Wembley and get promoted to the Football League."
Patrick McGrath - Human Resources Director
Patrick has been Director, Human Resources, of Virgin Trains since 1999. He joined the HR team in 1998 to kick-off a major cultural change programme.
He has also held a number of senior regional positions with operational and commercial responsibility in the rail network. Patrick joined the rail industry as a graduate trainee in 1991.
Phil Bearpark - Production Director
Phil has been with Virgin Trains since the franchise started in 1997. He has held a number of roles including Business Development Director with responsibility for introducing the VHF timetable and has been Production Director for the last three years.
He originally trained as an engineer and is a Chartered Mechanical Engineer and a Member of the Institute of Mechanical Engineers. Away from work Phil enjoys restoring old motorcycles and also owns and regularly rides a modern superbike. He also enjoys organ music both playing (badly) and going to concerts.
Virgin Rail Group brings together the talents of Virgin Management and Stagecoach Group plc, each of which has international transport interests.
We're the most experienced long-distance rail operator in the UK, and have transformed the West Coast line into UK's most used and most popular long-distance rail franchise.
We want to use our passion for innovation and customer service to deliver attractive rail services in other countries.