LONDON, August 17, 2011 /PRNewswire/ --
- Passenger revenues up 11% to £753 million
- Profits after tax down 21% to £39.9 million
- Premium payment of £110m to Government
- Passenger numbers reach 28 million
Virgin Trains today announced record sales of £753 million for the year to March 2011 as booming passenger numbers reached more than 28 million and drove ticket sales faster than any other UK train operator.
West Coast Trains Limited, the operator of the line, filed accounts this week which showed profits after tax of £39.9 million and that it paid the Government a £110 million premium payment. Virgin Group and Stagecoach, the shareholders shared a dividend of £32.5 million for the year, while the business kept £6.5 million for reinvestment.
Passengers numbers have more than doubled in the last six years and Virgin Trains has carried more than 250 million passengers on the route since March 1997.
Virgin Rail Chief Executive Officer Tony Collins said: "Our partnership approach with the Department for Transport has seen passenger numbers grow faster than the market over the last six years. We expect to continue this as a result of joint investments such as the recent addition of a new Pendolino train which is now in service. We are currently negotiating an extension of the current franchise with the Government and will also be bidding to operate the new West Coast franchise, which starts in December 2012.
"“The Government received a £110 million payment from Virgin Trains this year, and it could expect a bigger premium payment next year on the back of further strong growth. This is a great demonstration of the benefits that Virgin's management of the West Coast Main Line has delivered."
Since taking over the West Coast rail franchise 14 years ago, Virgin has increased the number of passengers from 13.6 million to 28 million a year; replaced the entire train fleet; and increased train services by 32% every week.
Innovating for customers: highlights of our work since 1997
- 130 new trains (with over 750 new carriages) in our Pendolino and Voyager fleets have been put into service, at a cost of £2 billion across West Coast and CrossCountry operations providing state-of-the-art trains across West Coast services and providing a legacy for CrossCountry customers.
- Increasing services has resulted in passenger numbers doubling to over 28 million a year over the last six years.
- Introduced First Class Lounges at stations, and extended our car parks - creating 5000 additional spaces.
- Created a massive change in service in 2008, with 32% more services every week and the most frequent long-distance service in Europe (London - Manchester and London - Birmingham, both every 20 minutes).
- Average journey times from London to Manchester have been slashed to 2 hours 5 minutes, from 2 hours 30 minutes.
- Brought a new Pendolino train into service in July 2011, allowing more seats to be provided on busy services.
Notes to Editors
Visit our Media Room website - http://www.virgintrains.co.uk/about/media-room/ - for an Image Library of pictures of Virgin Trains and the company's operations, or to subscribe to receive alerts to new press releases.
Virgin Trains is the brand name of Virgin Rail Group (VRG), which is owned 51 percent by Virgin Group and 49 percent by Stagecoach. We have operated the West Coast passenger train franchise since 1997.
The current franchise runs to March 2012 and the Secretary of State for Transport announced on 19 May 2011 that the Department for Transport will seek to agree acceptable terms with VRG for an extension to the current contract to December 2012. We have been short-listed for the new franchise that will start in December 2012.
Virgin Trains has been recognised in numerous industry awards. In 2010 the company has been named Best Rail Operator of the Year at the Travel Globe Awards (voted for by readers of the Daily Mail, Mail on Sunday and Evening Standard), and Best Rail Operator in the Group Leisure Awards (which we also won in 2009). In 2009 we were also voted Best UK Domestic Train Service by Business Traveller magazine for the second year running.
Virgin Trains first achieved Investors In People accreditation in 2007 and this was renewed in 2010; the IIP Gold award was achieved in 2011. In May 2011 Virgin Trains was awarded accreditation against the criteria of the European Foundation for Quality Management's (EFQM) Excellence Model.
SOURCE Virgin Trains