Virgin Trains has today launched tickets for its newest destination Sunderland and the city will benefit from a new direct return service to London from 14 December.
Virgin will also 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 http://www.virgintrainseastcoast.com/