Virgin Trains announced that during 2018/19, 40 million journeys were made on the route connecting London to major cities such as Manchester, Birmingham, Preston and Glasgow. This represents a 3.1% increase compared to the previous year and up by nearly 10 million compared with six years previously.
The current growth trajectory will see nearly 50 million passenger journeys being made on the west coast route by 2026 when the HS2 route between London and Birmingham is due to open.
“We have worked tirelessly with Government and industry partners to completely transform the West Coast route, introducing a fleet of new trains, achieving one of the biggest timetable changes since privatisation without a hitch and bringing a focus on customer experience that the industry had not experienced before. This report offers a useful insight into the scale of this transformation and its wider positive impacts on regional economies and the environment,” Phil Whittingham, Managing Director for Virgin Trains said.
Between 2006 and 2018, Virgin Trains journeys grew by 105%, compared with growth of 59% across all train operators and 62% in the long-distance sector, according to a report by Campaign for Better Transport. It followed major investment in modernising Victorian infrastructure, introducing tilting Pendolino and Super Voyager train fleets and transforming the offer to customers.