Virgin Trains has revealed a GBP50 million upgrade to its onboard and station services based on feedback from its customers.
The rail operator will introduce faster WiFi on its trains under the plans, which will also see WiFi installed at the stations it operates from.
More standard seats will also be introduced with carriages from 21 trains to be converted from January 2015, adding 5, 500 more standard seats to its services.
Around GBP20m will be spent on updating the services at its stations, while GBP3m will be spent on new menus, cutlery and its overall catering offering.
Speaking at the announcement this morning, Sir Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Trains said: “This is the most extensive piece of research we’ve taken and we are putting the customers words into what we invest in. On the back of what our customers told us we’ve pledged to invest GBP50m to create an unparalleled onboard experience for all of the millions of passengers that travel with us every year.
“This investment dedicated to enhance in the passenger experience supports our more than 3,000 staff and the job they do day in and day out. We’ve already started to make this a reality from beefing up our teams to making a great start with our Nectar rewards programme, as well as adding seats to Blackpool and Shrewsbury in the coming months.”
Virgin Trains will also be offering more apprenticeships and graduate placements and pledged to work with local communities and small and medium-sized businesses to generate more jobs.
Phil Whittingham, lead executive at Virgin Trains said: “This is an exciting time for Virgin Trains. Our aspirations stand alongside brands such as Amazon, John Lewis and Virgin Atlantic which are famed for the quality of their customer experience. We now have the investment we need to move forward with pace.”
The investment has been supported by a new GBP8 million advertising campaign with the strapline ‘Arrive Awesome’. Its new advert will debut on ITV during ‘Piers Morgan’s Life Stories’ showing passengers disembarking a Virgin Trains Pendolino onto a platform smiling, laughing and looking relaxed.
Virgin Trains’ chief marketing officer Danny Gonzalez said: “Following recent events such as the bid, we’ve really challenged ourselves to get back to our roots and refocus not only our brand, but also our people, products and services entirely on the needs of the customres. Ultimately our new vision is to offer great customer experiences that are true to what people expect from a Virgin company.”