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Railhub Archive
2000-07-03 VIR-002
Virgin Trains


Virgin East Coast fleet proposal

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East Coast Main Line
Virgin Rail Group Holdings Ltd
Virgin Trains
West Coast Trains Ltd

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Virgin Trains

Virgin East Coast fleet proposal

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3 July 2000
source Virgin Trains
type Press release

Virgin Rail Group (Virgin and Stagecoach plc) have announced plans for the East Coast train fleet if it wins the East Coast Main Line franchise.

The existing fleet of 31 IC225 trains will be completely rebuilt. All passenger coaches will be internally gutted to bare shell and rebuilt. Internally they will resemble the Pendolino trains that Virgin Rail Group has ordered for its West Coast route. The Class 91 electric locomotives used on these trains will also be refurbished to improve their reliability. The Driving Van Trailer (DVT) - essentially a van area with train managers’ accommodation and a driving cab will be withdrawn.

The DVT will be replaced with a 4,000hp diesel locomotive. Renamed Virgin Vitesse, these trains will also have a shop area, replacing the existing buffet. There will continue to be a restaurant service. Technical modifications will be required to enable these trains to operate with a diesel locomotive at one end and an electric locomotive at the other.

The diesel locomotive in the Virgin Vitesses will provide additional power, improving acceleration when the train is being electrically powered. When on non-electrified lines, the diesel locomotive will provide the power. Irrespective of whether diesel or electrically-powered, the train can be driven from either end. This also provides insurance if there is a power failure, whilst allowing through running of trains from London to Aberdeen/Inverness and other locations off the core electrified East Coast route.

The nine diesel-powered High Speed Trains (HSTs) will initially be retained.

From May 2005 a fleet of 18 Virgin SuperVitesses will be in service. These will be based on a modular platform which will allow an output specification for either 225kph or 330kph, depending on whether the shadow Strategic Rail Authority rules for, or against, the high speed line. The expanded fleet will enable the HSTs to be withdrawn, and allow additional services to be provided.

The Virgin Stagecoach proposal provides for further capacity to be provided in 2007 by eight Virgin Vitesses, which will be increased to 18 if the high speed link option is implemented.

A further 12 Virgin SuperVitesses - 36 if the high speed line built - will be added to the fleet in 2009.

It is likely that the two Eurostar trains currently in use between London and York will initially be retained, although replacement by HSTs - or Class 90 electric locomotives and Mk 3 stock is an option.

Railhub Archive ::: 2000-07-03 VIR-002


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