Old meets new as Virgin Trains joins Flying Scotsman’s return to East Coast Main Line


Flying Scotsman

Iconic locomotive 60103 Flying Scotsman officially returns to the East Coast Main Line alongside Virgin Trains’ modern day Flying Scotsman liveried train

Railway history is being made today (Thursday February 25, 2016) as Flying Scotsman officially returns to the East Coast Main Line to launch a season celebrating its return to the track. The celebratory season, which is sponsored by Virgin Trains, starts with today’s inaugural London-to-York run.

The iconic locomotive is being showcased alongside Virgin Trains’ own ‘Flying Scotsman’, complete with its brand new interior, at King’s Cross station before setting off on its five-hour journey to York. The Virgin Trains Flying Scotsman express service takes passengers between London and Edinburgh in just four hours – around half the time of the original steam train. It was unveiled in autumn by Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon. Virgin Trains is investing £40m improving its fleet on the East Coast, including new leather seats in first class, new seats in standard, new carpets and lighting.

Virgin’s Flying Scotsman is the first electric train in the fleet to have the new investment and enters service on Thursday. It also showcases the new mood lighting which is being installed in 1st class in all electric powered trains.

David Horne, Managing Director of Virgin Trains on its East Coast route, said: "The Flying Scotsman has an incredible history. It was the first locomotive to reach 100mph in 1934 and, in the pre-war era, it symbolized speed and style - service qualities which remain important to our customers today.

“We’ve embedded these qualities in our own Flying Scotsman which has had its own refresh, including luxury leather seats in First Class, a new red hot look for Standard Class, new carpets and coloured mood lighting. Looking forward to the future, new Virgin trains arrive in 2018 which will make the four-hour Edinburgh-to-London journey the norm - half the time it took the Flying Scotsman to do the journey non-stop before the war.”

Virgin Trains’ fleet upgrade is part of its investment in the London-Edinburgh route, which has just seen it granted permission to run an extra 42 services a week on the route, boosting seat capacity by 22,000.

The original Flying Scotsman will be on display in York until March 6. Virgin Trains runs in excess of 60 services a day to York providing a great way for train enthusiasts to visit the National Railway Museum and see the enormous heritage of the East Coast line. Additionally, Virgin Trains is offering 30 per cent off Advance fares to York to encourage visitors to the region as part of a joint promotion with Visit England. 

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