Virgin Trains - Virgin Trains Rolling Stock - C

Virgin Trains - C
Virgin Trains Rolling Stock
Virgin Trains Fleet at End of Franchise
  • 221 Super Voyager   DEMU
  • 390/0 & 390/1 Pendolino   EMU
Virgin inherited a fleet of Class 86, Class 87 and Class 90s hauling Mark 2 and Mark 3 carriages with Driving Van Trailers on its electrified services and High Speed Trains for London Euston to Holyhead services.
A franchise commitment was the replacement of these trains with new tilting stock. In 1999 Virgin signed a deal to lease forty-four eight-carriage and nine nine-carriage Class 390 Pendolinos built by Alstom.
An option to extend all to nine carriages was enacted in 2002. The first entered service in January 2003. With the exception of services to Holyhead, the final locomotive hauled trains were withdrawn in June 2005.
To operate the Holyhead services four four-carriage Class 221 Super Voyagers were included in the order placed by Virgin CrossCountry. By the time they were delivered it was decided these would be too short so they entered service with Virgin CrossCountry.
In September 2004 the High Speed Trains were withdrawn with services being operated by a combination of five-carriage Class 221 Super Voyagers hired from Virgin CrossCountry and Class 47 and Class 90 hauled Mark 3 sets. From September 2005 Class 57/3s hauling Class 390 Pendolinos took over the locomotive hauled diagrams.
This continued until December 2008 when five-carriage Class 221 Super Voyagers took over all services, with the exception of a Saturdays only Pendolino hauled by a Class 57/3 Locomotive (1D83 08:50 EUS-HHD/1A55 14:38 HHD-EUS). This ceased operation on Saturday 8 December 2012.
With the Class 390 Pendolinos needing modification in 2006, a First GBRf Class 87 was hired to haul a Mark 3 set on Birmingham New Street services.
To operate the Birmingham to Edinburgh and Glasgow services transferred from CrossCountry in December 2007, three four-carriage and thirteen five-carriage Class 221 Super Voyagers were transferred. A further five five-carriage Class 221 Super Voyagers followed in December 2008.
In August 2008 Bombardier started a programme to rearrange the Class 221 Super Voyagers with the carriage containing the shop moved to adjoin the first class carriage and refurbished with 2+2 seats arranged more spaciously around tables. This allowed it to be used as a first class carriage on Holyhead services and as a standard class carriage at other times.
In December 2010 one four-carriage Class 221 Super Voyager was disbanded with the two centre carriages being inserted into the other four-carriage sets to give Virgin a fleet of twenty five-carriage Class 221 Super Voyagers. The two end carriages are stored at Central Rivers depot.
To provide it with a fleet of locomotives for use on diversionary services during the West Coast Mainline upgrade and rescue duties, Virgin signed a deal with Porterbrook in March 2002 to rebuild twelve Class 47s as Class 57/3s with the first delivered in June 2002.
After it was decided they would operate daily services along the North Wales Coast to Holyhead, another four were ordered from Porterbrook. Following the completion of the West Coast Main Line upgrade in 2008 their use fell and after being sublet to Arriva Trains Wales, Colas Rail and First GBRf, six were returned to Porterbrook in August 2011, three in April 2012 and the remaining seven in December 2012.
Virgin had long been angling for a franchise extension in return for ordering extra carriages for the Class 390 Pendolinos. The Department for Transport rejected this and instead placed an order itself with Alstom for 106 carriages allowing for four complete eleven-carriage sets and 31 sets to be extended by two carriages.
There was an option to extend the remaining 21 sets but this was allowed to lapse. The four new sets were delivered in 2010/12 with 31 sets later receiving extra carriages. This required a number of stations to have platforms lengthened.
Following the loss of a Class 390 Pendolino in the Grayrigg derailment, a Mark 3 set with a Driving Van Trailer was leased with a Class 90 hired from English Welsh & Scottish as required. In 2008 Virgin looked at leasing two Class 180 but decided to retain the Mark 3 set.
Nicknamed the Pretendolino, this received re-upholstered seating, power points, Wi-Fi and a full external re-paint at Wabtec, Doncaster in 2009. Virgin used this set with a Class 90 locomotive hired from Freightliner on a Euston to Crewe (via Birmingham) service on Fridays only until December 2012. From 9 December 2013 it was utilised to operate a London Euston-Birmingham New Street train on Thursdays and Fridays only, until its withdrawal in October 2014.
All seats on Class 221 Super Voyagers and Class 390 Pendolinos originally had an on-board audio entertainment system featuring a number of radio or pre-recorded music channels. This was disabled in March 2010 and replaced with on-board Wi-Fi provided by EE. The service was available free in first class, and for a charge (which varied depending on how long the passenger wished to use it for) in standard class.
On 15 September 2015 it was announced that Virgin Trains were to rename Pendolino 390002 in memory of teenage fundraiser Stephen Sutton.
Virgin Trains Past Fleet
Former units operated by Virgin Trains include:
  • Class 43   Diesel-electric locomotive
1975–1982   2003
  • Class 47/8   Diesel-electric locomotive
1962–1968 (converted into 47/8 1989)   2002
  • Class 57/3   Diesel-electric locomotive
1998–2004   2012
  • Class 86   Diesel-electric locomotive
1965–1966   2003
  • Class 87   Electric Locomotive
1973–1975   2006
  • Class 90   Electric Locomotive
1987–1990   2004
  • Mark 2 Coach   Passenger Carriage
1964–1975   2003
  • Mark 3 Carriage
1975–1988   2005
  • Driving Van Trailer
  • Mark 3 Pretendolino   Passenger carriage
1975–1988   2014
  • Driving Van Trailer
Virgin Trains Overview
Virgin Trains Franchise(s):
InterCity West Coast
9 March 1997 – 7 December 2019
Virgin Trains Main Route(s):
London–West Midlands
Virgin Trains Other Route(s):
Virgin Trains Fleet Size: 56
Class 390 Pendolino sets
20 Class 221 Super Voyager sets
Virgin Trains Stations Called At: 46
Virgin Trains Stations Operated: 15
Virgin Trains Parent Company:
Virgin Rail Group
Virgin Group (51%)
Stagecoach (49%)
Virgin Trains Reporting Mark: VT
Virgin Trains Predecessor: InterCity
Virgin Trains Successor: Avanti West Coast
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