The Virgin Group, the company behind Virgin Records, and an assortment of other companies like Virgin Cola and Virgin Galactic, decided to enter the rail business during the privatisation of British Rail. Virgin bid on a number of different franchises and was successfully awarded Virgin CrossCountry and Virgin West Coast in 1997.
To most travellers Virgin Trains simply means any train with the Virgin logo on it, but Virgin Trains is actually just the name for the company that operates on the West Coast of the UK, between London and Scotland. Virgin's operations on the East Coast operate under the name Virgin Trains East Coast and they run a separate website at www.virgintrainseastcoast.com.
The Virgin Rail Group is the name of the company that manages Virgin's individual rail company. Combined, the Virgin Rail Group offers train services to some of the UK's most popular cities including London, Edinburgh, Birmingham, Manchester, Glasgow, and Liverpool. Tickets for the different rail franchises can be purchased on their online store at www.virgintrains.co.uk.
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There are several ways to buy a Virgin Trains train ticket:
Train travel in the UK can be expensive but there are a few ways to cut down on the costs. One of the easiest ways to do so is to travel on the ticket that offers the best value for money. For example, if you're travelling in a group you should consider purchasing a group ticket. Or, if you commute by train, a Season Ticket may make financial sense.
Booking tickets far in advance can offer some savings as can travelling at off-peak times, particularly when it comes to upgrading to first class. Normally, first class upgrades can cost nearly as much as the ticket itself, however, if you are travelling at a non-busy time you may be able to get an upgrade for less than £20. First class benefits include more space, food and drink, and free Wi-Fi.
If you're flexible about when you travel, Virgin Train's fair finder can help you find the most affordable train ticket. Railcards offer significant savings on ticket prices such as 1/3 off the ticket price. Some, such as the 16-25 railcard, come free with student bank accounts. If you travel regularly, a railcard might be a worthwhile investment. Virgin Trains have participated in Black Friday in the past so it's always worth keeping an eye on their Facebook page or email newsletter to see what deals are announced.
Virgin Trains have a rewards programme named “Traveller”, an exclusive rewards programme that's invite only. It offers perks such as free first class travel on any weekend, priority seating, and complimentary drinks at the First Class lounge in London Euston. To be in with a chance of getting invited, you will need to be a frequent first class traveller.
Alternatively, every time you travel with Virgin Trains, you can collect points with a number of different reward schemes. For example, if you have a Nectar card you can collect points each time you book a ticket with Virgin Trains. You can also collect points with Virgin Atlantic Flying Club and these points can be used to cut down the cost of holidays abroad in the US.
Virgin Trains accepts the following payment methods: Visa, MasterCard, Maestro, American Express, and Diner's Club.
If you have purchased a ticket online and requested that it be delivered by post, there are two postage options: First Class and Special Delivery (next working day). First Class postage typically costs £1, it depends on your address how long the delivery will take, and Special Delivery costs £6.45. Alternatively, you can collect your tickets from a train station for free or have the ticket delivered to your app or email address.
If your train is delayed by 30 minutes or more, you may be entitled to compensation. Delays of 30-59 minutes are normally entitled to a 50% refund while delays of more than 1 hour may be entitled to a 100% refund.
The process for claiming a refund depends on how you purchased your ticket:
Please note that advance tickets are non-refundable.
Booking your train tickets and checking timetables is easy with the Virgin Trains app on your mobile device. Just download the app for your iOS, BlackBerry, Android or Windows device and you can book tickets up to 10 minutes before you depart. You can use the tickets right in your app – there is no need to print them out.
There are several ways to get in touch with Virgin Trains. You can chat online instantly with a customer service representative via Live Chat, get in contact by phone at 03445 565650, use a contact form on the website, or by post at:
HotUKDeals collects all of the latest Virgin Trains deals and offers on this dedicated page. Check back regularly for new promotions and special offers.