Virgin Trains today announced record sales of £753 million for the year to March 2011 as booming passenger numbers reached more than 28 million and drove ticket sales faster than any other UK train operator.
West Coast Trains Limited, the operator of the line, filed accounts this week which showed profits after tax of £39.9 million and that it paid the Government a £110 million premium payment. Virgin Group and Stagecoach, the shareholders shared a dividend of £32.5 million for the year, while the business kept £6.5 million for reinvestment.
Passengers numbers have more than doubled in the last six years and Virgin Trains has carried more than 250 million passengers on the route since March 1997.
Virgin Rail Chief Executive Officer Tony Collins said: “Our partnership approach with the Department for Transport has seen passenger numbers grow faster than the market over the last six years. We expect to continue this as a result of joint investments such as the recent addition of a new Pendolino train which is now in service. We are currently negotiating an extension of the current franchise with the Government and will also be bidding to operate the new West Coast franchise, which starts in December 2012.
“The Government received a £110 million payment from Virgin Trains this year, and it could expect a bigger premium payment next year on the back of further strong growth. This is a great demonstration of the benefits that Virgin’s management of the West Coast Main Line has delivered.”
Since taking over the West Coast rail franchise 14 years ago, Virgin has increased the number of passengers from 13.6 million to 28 million a year; replaced the entire train fleet; and increased train services by 32% every week.
Also in Europe today, City.Mobi is celebrating the success of its new guide to London.
City.Mobi offers the most comprehensive mobile travel guides available, with over 800 cities in 200 countries listed. Each is developed by the City.Mobi team to combine into a single global travel directory.
London.Mobi is the latest in this illustrious line up, offering click to call functionality – which means no scribbling down telephone numbers.
Most entries are also linked to websites where users can quickly access more detailed information if needed.
Other key features include information on accommodation, restaurants, attractions, entertainment, nightlife, shopping, and transport.
City.Mobi guides include user reviews and traveller utilities such as a translation guide, currency converter, news and local weather guide.