Virgin Trains East Coast - B
Virgin Trains East Coast - B
Although Virgin Trains East Coast had no plans of its own to introduce new rolling stock, 10 five-car and 13 nine-car Class 800 bi-mode trains and 12 five-car and 30 nine-car Class 801 EMUs were due to be introduced during VTEC's franchise term as part of the DfT-led Intercity Express Programme.
On 16 March 2016, VTEC officially unveiled the first of the new trains and branded them as Azuma, after the native Japanese term for "east". In October 2017, it was revealed that the fleet would enter service from December 2018, but the early termination of the franchise in June 2018 meant that they were not used in service under VTEC. The trains were finally introduced in May 2019 under London North Eastern Railway, retaining the Azuma branding.
Virgin Trains East Coast Depots
Virgin Trains East Coast had four main depots:
Virgin Trains East Coast Operation
Virgin Trains East Coast Punctuality
The public performance measure (PPM) shows the percentage of trains which arrive at their terminating station on time. It combines figures for punctuality and reliability into a single performance measure. The most recent figure (in the four weeks from 13 December 2015 – 9 January 2016) for Virgin Trains East Coast's PPM was 82.0%. The moving annual average PPM was 86.9%.
Virgin Trains East Coast Profitability
During the tender process, Virgin Trains East Coast promised to pay higher premiums to the government than its predecessor East Coast did, but failed comprehensively, immediately reducing premium payments and eventually giving up its £3.3 billion franchise.
In the first full year of operation, the company repaid only £204 million of the premium, shortly before defaulting on the franchise. This compares unfavorably to the £235 million paid over the previous year by the publicly operated East Coast franchise.
Virgin Trains East Coast Incident with Jeremy Corbyn
In August 2016, a video was released of Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn in which he said he was forced to sit on the floor on a VTEC train to Newcastle because the train was "ram-packed". At the time, Corbyn said "Is it fair that I should upgrade my ticket whilst others who might not be able to afford such a luxury should have to sit on the floor? It's their money I would be spending after all.”
However, Virgin Trains later released edited CCTV footage which they claimed showed Corbyn walking past empty seats in Coach H, filming the video and then walking back to Coach H to sit for the rest of the journey. Corbyn said about the incident "Yes, I did walk through the train. Yes, I did look for two empty seats together so I could sit down with my wife, to talk to her. That wasn't possible so I went to the end of the train."
Analysis by a media outlet supporting the re-election bid of Jeremy Corbyn in the then-Labour leadership contest of the CCTV footage later claimed to show that the unreserved seats in some of the images were occupied and that other passengers also sat in the vestibules.
Virgin Trains East Coast Industrial Action
Due to concerns over the planned introduction of driver-only operation by VTEC, in addition to nearly 200 planned compulsory redundancies and staff pay concerns, the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) announced that three 24-hour strikes would be held by all workers (except depot maintenance workers) at VTEC in August 2016, however, following negotiations between VTEC and the RMT, these were all eventually cancelled.
A further breakdown in negotiations between the RMT and VTEC resulted in the union calling for further industrial action, which took place for 24 hours on 3 October 2016. Further strikes were subsequently called, for 48 hours on 28–29 April 2017, however, this was again cancelled before it could take place following "progress" in talks between the union and the operator.
Virgin Trains East Coast Overview
Virgin Trains East Coast Franchise(s):
InterCity East Coast
1 March 2015 – 23 June 2018
Virgin Trains East Coast Main Route(s):
Virgin Trains East Coast Other Route(s):
Virgin Trains East Coast Fleet Size:
31 InterCity 225 sets
14 InterCity 125 sets
Virgin Trains East Coast Stations Called At: 53
Virgin Trains East Coast Stations Operated: 12
Virgin Trains East Coast Parent Company:
Stagecoach Group (90%)
Virgin Group (10%)
Virgin Trains East Coast Reporting Mark: GR
Virgin Trains East Coast Predecessor: East Coast
Virgin Trains East Coast Successor: London North Eastern Railway