LONDON, April 18, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --
Virgin Trains is advising football supporters wishing to travel by train to the FA Cup Final on Saturday 11 May that there are no suitable services returning to the North West that take into account the uncertainty of when the match will actually end.
The last train from London Euston to Wigan North Western on a Saturday leaves at 20:31, while the last departure to Manchester Piccadilly is at 21:00. The cup presentation ceremony and celebrations, together with the possibility of extra time and a penalty shoot out, all mean that by the time supporters reach London Euston following a journey from Wembley last trains will have departed.
The unpredictability of exactly when the match will end coupled with the earlier close down on Saturdays of the West Coast Main Line for essential maintenance and inspection mean that the planning of any additional services to the North West is extremely difficult given the high numbers of supporters that would attempt to travel that evening. Virgin Trains would much rather everyone understands the position well in advance so that they can make their plans accordingly.
On the morning of the Final an additional train will run from Wigan North Western to London Euston - exact timings will be advertised as soon as possible - while from Manchester the advertised 20 minute frequency to London Euston will be in operation. Return travel to Wigan and Manchester on Sunday will be by the normal advertised services with details available now by visiting nationalrail.co.uk or calling +44(0)8457-49-49-50.
The Football Association (FA), with whom there has been a regular dialogue, fully understands the position of the train operators while they in turn acknowledge the commercial and footballing considerations of the FA. Going forward, the regular dialogue between the organisations will continue and will take an advanced look at fixture lists and how they can work alongside the backdrop of the operation of a long distance railway with the objective of attempting to meet the aspirations of football supporters.
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Virgin Trains has revolutionised rail travel by creating a high speed, high frequency service that has cut journey times and made rail journeys more comfortable. It has operated the West Coast passenger train franchise since 1997, serving key UK cities including London, Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, Preston and Glasgow.
Virgin Trains is the brand name of Virgin Rail Group (VRG), which is owned 51 percent by Virgin Group and 49 percent by Stagecoach. The Department for Transport (DfT) has awarded VRG a franchise contract, which started on 9 December 2012 and will run for up to 23 months. The DfT announced on 26 March 2013 a programme for letting future franchises, with the long-term West Coast franchise expected to start in April 2017.
Virgin Trains has been recognised in numerous awards. In September 2012 Business Traveller magazine readers voted the company the Best UK Domestic Rail Operator for the sixth year running. In 2011 the company was named Best Rail Operator in the Group Leisure Awards (which it also won in 2009 and 2010). In 2011 Virgin Trains won the British Quality Foundation's Achievement Award for Customer Satisfaction.
Customers consistently rate the company the top long-distance rail franchise operator, as measured by the National Passenger Survey (NPS) run by industry watchdog Passenger Focus. In the most recent NPS (Autumn 2012) overall satisfaction was 92%, our best score ever.
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. The company's Learning and Development team won a National Training Awards 2011 West Midlands award for its Coaching Culture programme.
SOURCE Virgin Trains