Virgin welcomes festive trains to fleet

Hundreds of heads were turned this morning at King’s Cross Station as Virgin Trains unveiled its two Christmas trains sporting striking blue liveries in place of the famous Virgin red.

A Pendolino transformed into a Penguilino and a Class 91 made over as Claus 91 appeared side by side for the first time at London’s iconic station.

The unveiling marked the end of a nationwide competition amongst primary school children for a Christmas Train design. Joint winners, nine year old Amber Maxfield and 11 year old Madeleine Deakin, were there to see their festive drawings come to life.

The competition attracted hundreds of entries and was run in partnership with the Book Trust.

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The judging panel, which was headed by Jill Murphy, author of the popular Worst Witch and The Large Family series, were so impressed by the entries that two winners were chosen.

Murphy said: ‘‘I am honoured to have been part of this exciting project.

“We received so many wonderful entries and Madeleine and Amber’s designs stood out as fun designs with a real Christmas feel to them.”

Now two trains, one on the West Coast (Penguilino) and one on the East Coast (Claus 91), boast the children’s’ very different designs but share the same midnight blue sky backdrop.

Each Christmas train bears the name of its young designer.

Patrick McCall, chairman, Virgin Trains, said: “We loved the concepts that these two young designers came up with and are proud to have their ideas transform two trains.

“It’s fantastic that both the East Coast and West Coast services have come together to make our customers’ journeys throughout December extra special - especially on their way home for Christmas.”

The Christmas trains will run on the Virgin Trains network throughout December and carry passengers travelling over the festive period.