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2015-09-25 VTE-001
Virgin Trains East Coast


Virgin Trains to launch new service from Sunderland

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Virgin Trains East Coast

Virgin Trains to launch new service from Sunderland

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2015-09-18 Transforming the rail passenger experience (Department for Transport)


25 September 2015 : 14.39
source Virgin Trains East Coast
type Press release

Virgin Trains has today launched tickets for its newest destination – Sunderland.

The city will benefit from a new direct return service to London from 14 December 2015.

Virgin will also today start selling tickets for a new return service from Stirling to London King’s Cross. Both of these new services, from Monday 14 December, will feature early morning departures making them ideal for a day of business or leisure in London.

The company will also sell tickets from today for an additional return service from Leeds to London on Saturdays, a move designed to appeal to leisure travellers and families wishing to travel to the capital in the run-up to Christmas.

David Horne, Managing Director at Virgin Trains, said: “This is a hugely exciting day for us as we move towards operating more services, and adding Sunderland to the Virgin rail map.

“The new services mark a major milestone in Virgin Trains’ ambitious plans to transform services on its East Coast route, which also includes £140m investment to deliver an improved service and more personalised customer experience.

“Business customers have been calling for more early-morning departures that will give them a longer day in the capital and we’re delighted to be delivering on our promise by launching these extra services. We’re also responding to demand in Leeds, with an extra return service which will be great for leisure travellers and those families wishing to head to London in the run-up to Christmas.”

Rail Minister Claire Perry said: “The new Sunderland service will provide better journeys for customers across the region and boost economic ties between the north east and the capital, stimulating growth. It will play an important role in our ambitious plans to build a Northern Powerhouse and create a balanced, healthier economy.

“Along with the additional services for Scotland and Yorkshire, this is further proof that the new East Coast franchise is delivering real benefits for customers across the UK.”

The additional weekday Stirling service will launch on Monday 14 December with a 05.26 weekday departure, arriving in London King’s Cross at 10.52. This is 46 minutes faster than the existing 05.30 departure, which requires a change of train and arrives in London at 11.42.

The train will also call at Falkirk Grahamston, and will link with the existing 06.26 departure from Edinburgh Waverley. The return service will depart London King’s Cross at 15.00, arriving in Stirling at 20.16.

Customers in Sunderland will see a new 05.40 departure, arriving in London King’s Cross at 09.08. With the return service departing London at 20.00, both services will be faster than existing direct trains to Sunderland, by seven minutes southbound and 11 minutes northbound.

Customers in Leeds will see an additional 09.40 departure on Saturdays starting on Saturday 17 October: the new service will also call at Wakefield and arrives at King’s Cross at 11.51. The return service will depart London at 19.04 and arrive in Leeds at 21.21.

Tickets for the new Sunderland service and additional trains from Stirling and Leeds are now on sale at


Contact the Virgin Trains East Coast Press Office: 0116 366 3988 during office hours (09.00 - 17.30 Mon-Fri). Outside these times, and for urgent media enquiries only, please call 08700 005151 and ask for the duty Virgin Trains East Coast press officer to be paged.

Virgin Trains East Coast is the brand name of InterCity Railways Ltd (ICR), which is owned by Stagecoach Group (90%) and Virgin Group (10%). Virgin Trains East Coast began operating services on the East Coast Main Line on Sunday 1 March 2015, serving key UK cities including London, Peterborough, Doncaster, Leeds, York, Newcastle, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Inverness. In November 2014 the Department for Transport awarded ICR a new franchise until at least 31 March 2023.

Virgin Trains East Coast is committed to delivering a high speed, high quality service with new services, faster and more frequent journeys, more comfortable travel and excellent customer service. More than £140m is to be invested in delivering improved service and a more personalised travel experience for customers.

Visit the Virgin Trains East Coast Media Centre at: for the latest news and images.


• Stagecoach Group is a leading international public transport group, with extensive operations in the UK, mainland Europe, the United States and Canada. The Group employs around 38,000 people, and operates bus, coach, train, and tram services.

• Stagecoach is one of the UK’s biggest bus and coach operators with around 8,300 buses and coaches. Around 2.8 million passenger journeys are made on Stagecoach's buses every day on a network stretching from south-west England to the Highlands and Islands of Scotland. The Group’s business includes major city bus operations in London, Liverpool, Newcastle, Hull, Manchester, Oxford, Sheffield and Cambridge. Low-cost coach service,, operates a network of inter-city services across the UK and continental Europe.

• Stagecoach is a major UK rail operator, running the South West Trains, Island Line and East Midlands Trains networks. It is also the majority shareholder (90%) in the new Virgin Trains East Coast franchise and has a 49% shareholding in Virgin Rail Group, which operates the West Coast rail franchise.

• Stagecoach also operates the Supertram light rail network in Sheffield.

• In North America, Stagecoach operates around 2,400 buses and coaches in the United States and Canada. links around 130 key locations in North America. Stagecoach is also involved in operating commuter, transit, airport express services, contracted, charter and sightseeing services.

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