So, where are you heading?
Whatever the destination, you’ll enjoy a faster, greener and more comfortable journey when you head there with Virgin Trains on the West Coast Mainline.
And we’re not slowing down.
So if you want to get there happy and refreshed, hop on and get comfy – we can’t wait to see you.
What is it? Well, in a nutshell, it’s this: we’re totally committed to giving you the high quality service you deserve. Which includes:
- Punctual, reliable trains
- Clean, safe trains and stations
- Customer Service team members on each train
- Refreshments on most trains
- Making sure you have a seat if you’ve reserved one in advance – simple but pretty important
For full details of what else you can expect when you jump on board, take a look at our Passenger's Charter
Download a free PDF reader.
Virgin Trains has achieved certification to the internationally recognised ISO 14001 Environmental Management System standard. It is believed to be one of the first UK train operating companies to be awarded ISO: 14001 for its entire operation, covering all stations, trains and offices.
Find out more information about the certification here
We believe that rail should lead the way for sustainable transport.
That’s why we’re pulling out all the stops to make sure we reduce our impact on air quality and carbon emissions.
To find out how, take a look at our corporate responsibility report.
Download a free PDF reader.
The report includes things like our:
- Plans to reduce our carbon footprint while increasing our energy efficiency
- Goal to make our security and service levels as high as they can be
- Sustainable stations philosophy
- Approach to sustainable sourcing of our onboard food
- Waste and recycling targets
- Employee engagement and empowerment programmes
- Community work at home and abroad
We’re also trying to demystify sustainability. How? By sending big red boxes to companies and asking them to put something inside which they think best represents sustainability. Check out how The Big Red Box works here.
Want to know how we’re doing? So do we. That’s why we keep tabs on our performance and make the results available to everyone.
It keeps us on our toes and gives us that oomph to be even better.
View our latest report card
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.
Nobody likes train delays. But it’s worse when you’re kept in the dark. That’s why we go the extra mile to make sure you know exactly what’s going on, just as soon as we know.
In fact, the entire industry recognises how important it is to manage disruptions properly, so we all now follow a new Code of Practice.
Its main aims are to:
- Quickly offer you a consistent, accurate reason for delays
- Where possible, give you advice on alternative arrangements for onward travel
- Give you a realistic estimate of how long the delays are likely to last
- Ensure that all information channels are covered - trains, stations, websites, telephones, social media and news media
You can read the full version here: ATOC Approved Code of Practice on Passenger Information During Disruption
Download a free PDF reader.
Virgin Trains is delighted to retain its Investors In People (IIP) Gold status.
What is IIP? IIP ‘specialises in transforming business performance through people’, which is what we’re all about. And Gold status means that everyone who works with us, works to make your journeys more enjoyable, more awesome.
Here are some of the lovely things the Investors In People (IIP) assessors said about our business, all of which helped us become one of the first companies in the UK to achieve IIP Gold status:
“Spurs people on to perform beyond expectations and offers to help out when there are challenges.”
“Almost without exception, people regard the organisation as a great place to work.”
“Virgin Trains people are motivated to achieve the goals of the company and are committed to both securing high levels of customer satisfaction and growing the business.”
Stephen C McGloin, IIP Customer Services Co-ordinator, explains: "The Gold Standard is a very challenging one to meet and is increasingly seen as a measure of a quality employer. Your success not only reflects your own commitment but is also an acknowledgement of the effort of everyone who works for the organisation."
Achieving IIP Gold is fantastic news, of course, but we’re not going to stop there - we’re always looking for ways to improve.
Phil Whittingham - Managing Director
Phil became Director, Finance on 1 January 2008. He 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.
Graham Leech - Executive Director, Commercial
During his time with Virgin Trains Graham has overseen national marketing campaigns, set up thetrainline.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 the Association of Train Operating Companies.
Patrick McGrath - Executive Director, Human Resources
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 - Executive Director Operations and Projects
Phil leads the team who deliver the safe and punctual operation of our services. He also looks after our portfolio of major projects.
Phil has been with Virgin Trains since the franchise started in 1997. He has held a number of roles including Engineering Director, and Business Development Director with responsibility for introducing the VHF timetable. He was recently Production Director for three years. Phil originally trained as an engineer and is a Chartered Mechanical Engineer and a Member of the Institute of Mechanical Engineers.
Steve Tennant - Executive Director Customer Experience
Steve is responsible for continuously driving forward improvements in our customer experience, from the moment people think about booking a journey to the moment they arrive at their destination.
He joined Virgin Trains in January 2014 and is also responsible for Customer Relations. Steve previously held positions at Barclays including Customer Experience Director, Branch Banking Director and Regional Director. He likes cycling, walking and the great outdoors.
Mark Whitehouse - Executive Director, Finance
Mark Whitehouse joined the Executive team in August 2014 as Finance Director. His first role with Virgin Trains was as Financial Controller in 2011 and then, later, Head of Finance. He also played a key role in the negotiations with the Department for Transport to secure Virgin Trains' new franchise agreement.
Prior to Virgin Trains, Mark worked in a number of international finance roles at Cadbury. A qualified Chartered Accountant, he has two children, plays the viola in an orchestra and enjoys running half marathons.
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.
Planning a day trip or looking to head off somewhere for a few days? We can get you there (and back of course). See all the destinations we call at now.
Take a look at our Network Map
There’s always something going on around here – it’s how we roll. That makes our Media Room a busy place. Head over there for updates on our latest adventures, and handy factsheets that’ll give you the lowdown on our business.
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