Virgin Trains has responded to Northumberland rail users’ requests to provide more services to the county on the East Coast mainline.
It has made changes to its December 2016 timetable to increase services to Alnmouth, with three more daily services on Mondays to Thursdays, and Morpeth, with four more daily services on Mondays to Thursdays.
The extra Morpeth stops, taking the number from seven to 11 per day, include three new services during the afternoons when there have traditionally been no services provided to the town by the operator of the East Coast franchise. It has also responded to feedback by reinstating a 18.30 (6.30pm) departure from Edinburgh, which will stop at both Alnmouth and Morpeth.
Dennis Fancett, chairman of the South East Northumberland Rail User Group (SENRUG), said: “We’ve worked very closely with Virgin Trains as it developed its timetable. Its services are extremely important to the regional economy and for people living in communities such as Morpeth. Virgin Trains has listened to us and other rail user groups, and we’re delighted that it will substantially increase the number of its services to Morpeth. This includes providing new services throughout the day, and reinstating the 18.30 evening service from Edinburgh to stations in Northumberland, which will be a great help for commuters and leisure travellers.”
The new services (from December 12) which have so far been confirmed on Mondays to Thursdays are:
Northbound from London King’s Cross to Edinburgh Waverley:
The 09.30 from London will additionally call at Morpeth at 12.57.
The 13.30 will additionally call at Morpeth at 16.57 and Alnmouth at 17.11.
The 17.30 will additionally call at Alnmouth at 21.00
Southbound from Edinburgh Waverley to London King’s Cross:
The 14.00 from Edinburgh will additionally call at Morpeth at 15.15.
A newly-timed 18.30 service from Edinburgh (currently timed at 18.42) will additionally call at Alnmouth at 19.40 and Morpeth at 19.57
Extra Sunday service:
From Sunday, December 18, the 16.20 Edinburgh to London King’s Cross service will additionally call at Morpeth at 17.32. This is part of a number of Friday-to-Sunday changes that are due to be announced soon.
All of the extra services so far announced are now available for customers to book. Fares from Morpeth to London King’s Cross start at £18 single and £36 return. Fares from Morpeth to Edinburgh start at £5.70 single and £11.40 return.
Emma Vincent, general manager for Virgin Trains on its East Coast route, said: “We’re pleased to introduce these additional services after listening carefully to the feedback we’ve had from customers and, in particular, local rail user groups who we’ve worked closely with to develop our new timetable.
“Virgin Trains is committed to working with customers and communities, and these additional services are being introduced just over 18 months before we launch our new Virgin Azuma trains, which will significantly improve the speed, comfort and frequency of services on the route.”
The new services follows Virgin Trains’ introduction of eight additional services per weekday between Newcastle and Edinburgh in May 2016.