Blackpoll to london virgin trainAt the end of 2014 just before the Christmas holidays Blackpool saw the re launch of a direct Virgin Trains service to the capital.

The Blackpool to London train service is back after eleven years of absence. The previous direct service ran until it was cancelled in 2003 due to a lack of demand.

The new train service will depart from Blackpool at 05:25 and is due to call also at Kirkham & Wesham, Poulton-le-Fylde, Preston, Wigan North Western, Warrington Bank Quay, Crewe and Nuneaton before arriving in London at 08:34. The return service from London Euston departs at 16:33 and arrives back in Blackpool at 19:31.

At the same time Virgin Trains also introduced the London to Shrewsbury train service.

The new services are part of a range of improvements on the West Coast Main Line route that coincide with the award of Virgin Trains’ extended franchise.

Secretary of State for Transport, Rt Hon Patrick McLoughin, MP and Daniel Kawczynski, MP travelled on Monday’s 0639 Shrewsbury to London departure, to mark the occasion, both having been instrumental in getting the green light for the new services.

Patrick McLoughlin commented, “This is another sign of the renaissance in Britain’s railways, and we are already seeing more services, more passenger journeys, and more jobs being generated by the industry. Our rail network is a key part of our long term economic plan which is why more than £38billion will be invested in maintaining and upgrading the network over the next five years.”

To celebrate the launch, characters including Sherlock Holmes, a Beefeater, Pearly King and Queen, and Covent Garden street performers delighted crowds on Blackpool Pier and outside Shrewsbury’s Market Hall, highlighting that travellers can now travel direct to London Euston in just 2hrs 36mins from Shrewsbury and 3hrs 9mins from Blackpool.

Blackpool North will also benefit from the introduction of a daily trip to London Euston (Monday-Friday).

“It’s an exciting time for everyone involved with Virgin Trains,” commented Phil Bearpark, Executive Director Operations and Projects. “With our extended franchise we are able to get back to doing what we do best, offering new journey opportunities whilst still delivering the same high standards of service to our customers.

The support we have received locally has been overwhelming. We couldn’t be more pleased and we are really looking forward to working with all stakeholders to ensure the new services are a success.”

The Blackpool Gazette has quoted, Coun John Jones, Blackpool Council’s cabinet member for highways and transport to say that he was delighted by the news.

“I’ve been lobbying Virgin, as well as Network Rail and the ORR for a while now about the importance of a direct train line between London and Blackpool, as I feel it will have a huge impact on the town’s economy. I’m glad that they’ve listened and agreed to put on this direct route.

“This a huge boost to the town and will help to put the town on the map to millions of people who live in London, as well as making commuting between here and the capital a much more feasible proposition to many.”

Blackpool to London train service