Exclusive story from David Baddiel

07th September 2016

Our “Summer Author” whips up a tale exclusively for BEAM

Summer. You can’t beat it. Days out to remember, happy people and glorious sunshine (and OK, probably a bit of rain too).

The months between spring and autumn are our favourite because we see our passengers arrive on our trains to excitedly start adventures. Every day we welcome onboard families of budding explorers, on their way to make memories at the seaside, visit some historic sites or wander in stunning scenery.

And if you’re travelling with little ones, what better way is there to keep them entertained for the journey than the latest TV shows, movies, games, and reads?

Earlier this year we launched our brand spanking new entertainment app, BEAM. It has hundreds of hours of boredom-busting entertainment, and is completely free to use. Just download the app before you get on the train, connect to the on-board WiFi (no charge), open BEAM and you’re ready to kick back, watch read and play

We wanted to celebrate these amazing summer journeys that take place on our network by launching a brand new children’s book on BEAM – a story inspired by our customers! When we’re surrounded by millions of inspiring journeys and jokes, personalities and people; where else would we need to look for inspiration?

The one and only, award-winning children’s author and comedian, David Baddiel came onboard (literally) as our “Summer Author” to help us capture these precious customer stories and immortalise them into a new book exclusively for BEAM. 

David went up and down both our West Coast and East Coast routes this summer, chatting and listening to customers. The idea for his story was forming in his head, but it was brought to life by some of the people he met on the way. Train managers, drivers and onboard staff gave him some insight into the stories they unearth when interacting with our customers – but it was listening to the summer memories of young passengers Isla, Lilia and Iona-Mae that really gave the tale a personal touch right down to the core.

So after criss-crossing the country and soaking up summer excitement, what story did David write? Drum roll please…..

‘The Girl Who Had Never Been On A Train’ is now available on BEAM, and it tells the story of Chrissie – a little girl who loves trains, but has never actually been on a real one.

Chrissie loves trains. She has train books, train pictures – and, of course, model trains. But Chrissie has never been on an actual train. In part, because Chrissie doesn’t find getting around as easy as other people.

Then, Chrissie finally gets on a train with her Grandpa Henry to go down to London for an important operation.

Her parents and Henry hope the journey will take Chrissie’s mind off things. And they’re right: but in a way they couldn’t possibly imagine.

Any fans of David’s previous books, The Parent Agency and The Person Controller, will know that he loves to add a bit of magic to his stories – so look out for something weird and wonderful taking place on Chrissie’s first journey on a train to London with her Grandpa Henry.

Illustrated by Jim Field, the book is the first of its kind like it on Virgin Trains BEAM and is available to all passengers onboard. It’s been a creative process that’s been exciting for us all at Virgin Trains, and we hope brings a smile to the faces of our passengers and staff!

Did you meet David on his travels this summer, or submit a story to him through our social media channels? When you’re next on a Virgin Train, why not settle down, open BEAM and keep everyone entertained with this exclusive story – and see if you recognise any of the action!