Virgin Trains has welcomed the decision by the RMT to suspend industrial action and continue talks about further improving the on-board changes.
The union suspended the walk-outs today after Virgin Trains repeated its assurances that a strike would cost RMT members pay for no reason. Virgin Trains had promised a full timetable during the 48hr strike making the union’s threat futile. It has also given assurances on each point raised by the union at the start of the dispute – including keeping the safety critical duties on-board.
David Horne, Virgin Trains’ Managing Director on the east coast route, said: “We’re pleased that the RMT has agreed to suspend industrial action and continue talks. We had put in place detailed contingency plans which would have seen our timetable run as normal, nevertheless this news will be welcomed by our customers and people.
“We’re making exciting changes on the east coast as part of the customer-centric revolution which has seen us embark on a £140m investment programme in our trains and stations."
Since taking over the east coast franchise in 2015, Virgin Trains has completed an ambitious programme to completely refresh its train interiors. Next year it is planning to introduce a new fleet of faster, greener, more comfortable Azuma trains.
Aligned with this investment, Virgin Trains is making changes to customer-facing roles which will help deliver clearer lines of responsibility for the customer experience on our trains. This will have no impact on safety, and will result in a better experience for customers.
About Virgin Trains:
Stagecoach and Virgin are working in partnership to operate the East Coast and West Coast inter-city routes under the Virgin Trains brand. Together, they are on track to revolutionise rail travel across the UK.
The combined network connects some of the nation’s most iconic destinations including Glasgow, Liverpool, Birmingham, Manchester, Edinburgh, Newcastle, Leeds, York and London.
Virgin Trains is committed to delivering a high speed, high frequency service, offering shorter journey times, more comfortable travel and excellent customer service. Customers consistently rate Virgin Trains as one of the top long-distance rail franchise operators in the National Rail Passenger Survey (NRPS) commissioned by industry watchdog, Transport Focus.
On the East Coast route, £140m is being invested to create a more personalised travel experience. We have already invested £21m to completely revamp our existing fleet and customers can now benefit from 42 additional services (22,000 extra seats) per week between Edinburgh and London. 2018 will see the introduction of completely new Azuma trains being built in the UK by Hitachi.
The West Coast route has a proud record of challenging the status quo - from introducing tilting Pendolino trains, to a pioneering automated delay repay scheme and becoming the first franchised rail operator to offer m-Tickets for all ticket types.
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