Virgin train

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Virgin Trains applies to restore direct Blackpool to London service

Virgin Trains has made a new application to operate direct services from London Euston to Blackpool and Shrewsbury on the West Coast main line.

Last month, the company failed with an appeal to the Office of Rail Regulation(ORR) for a twice-daily service to be restored. The service was discontinued in 2003. Network Rail said the line lacked capacity to cope with the extra traffic, but Virgin Trains believe improvements to be made in coming months should allow the services to resume next May.

Although rejecting the previous application, ORR said that the issue should be re-examined once performance improvements were made.

Network Rail is investing nearly £40m in a series of projects aimed improving the reliability of infrastructure and train punctuality on the West Coast main line.

Virgin Trains’ production director Phil Bearpark said: “The May 2014 timetable changes are 10 months away and we expect Network Rail to significantly improve performance by then. The people of Blackpool have been absolutely clear about their desire to have a direct train link with London, an ambition we fully support and are working very hard to achieve.

“We have continued to work with Network Rail to ensure that they improve performance. It is now down to them to ensure that they honour their commitments on this and for the ORR to hold them to account.”

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Simon Malia .

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