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Virgin Trains

Virgin Trains are a train operating company and part of Richard Branson's Virgin empire. The company was formed after the privatisation of British Rail in the mid 1990s.

They succesfully bid for the franchise to run express train services on the West coast Mainline, this part of the company is called Virgin west coast. And also a separate franchise to run most of the U.K's cross country rail services, this part is called Virgin cross-country.

Since taking over these franchises Virgin trains have invested heavily in new state of the art tilting trains to replace the ageing fleet of trains they inherited from British rail.

Virgin Trains have a poor reputation for punctuality compared with many other transport operators. This perception seems to be a mixture of truth and media exaggeration. During the year ending December 31, 2002, 62.5% of Cross-Country trains and 73.6% of West Coast trains arrived within 10 minutes of the scheduled arrival time (source SRA National Rail Trends (http://www.sra.gov.uk/sra/publications/nat_rail_trends/2003_03_12/02_nat_tr_mar03.pdf)). These figures compare unfavourably with most airlines but are not greatly worse than other long-distance UK rail operators.

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