Rail passengers get first class facilities

A new-look Virgin Trains First Class Lounge has been opened at Berwick railway station following a root-and-branch makeover.

Tuesday, 19th April 2016, 2:17 pm
Updated Tuesday, 19th April 2016, 3:20 pm
The ribbon cutting at Berwick station's new first class lounge. Pictured are Gair Harvey, Virgin Trains Station Customer Service Assistant; Councillor Kath Nisbet, Civic Head of Northumberland County Council; Councillor Susan Davey, Northumberland County Council and Neil Davison, Virgin Trains Service Delivery Manager.

It is one of eight lounges between London and Edinburgh that has been given the Virgin treatment, doubling the seating capacity and giving more options to hold meetings, work and unwind in style.

A splash of red has been introduced into the designs, which include new meeting points, desks for customers to work at and relaxation spots to unwind. Free wifi and powerpoints have been provided, along with soft drinks, snacks and newspapers. Meanwhile, a feature wall boasts a unique design depicting a sea-bird picked by station staff.

Coun Kath Nisbet, civic head of Northumberland County Council, said: “This is a welcome investment in the facilities at Berwick station and I’m sure it will boost the experience for train passengers.

“We have an absolute gem of a town that is loved by visitors from across the UK and abroad and making it easier and more enjoyable to visit by rail is an important part of growing our visitor economy.”

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David Horne, Virgin Trains’ managing director for the east coast route, said: “This is the latest investment that will help us lift the experience for our first class customers. We know that being able to relax ahead of a journey or prepare for that key business meeting is one of the things that our customers really value. We’re confident that providing some Virgin style to these lounges will help us to meet this increasing demand for first class travel.”

The investment will help Virgin Trains drive further growth in First Class travel among business people who can prepare for meetings onboard and leisure passengers treating themselves to a luxury journey.

In the first year since Virgin Trains took over services on the east coast route, First Class travel has grown by 6%.

The latest improvements come after Virgin Trains embarked on a £21m refurbishment of its trains, including putting leather seat covers in First Class.

Lounges in King’s Cross, Edinburgh, Leeds, Newcastle, Berwick, Doncaster, Darlington, Berwick, Darlington and Wakefield have all been refurbished.