Virgin Trains speeds into X-MEN partnership
A Virgin Trains’ 11-coach Pendolino train is now promoting the new X-MEN movie over the length and breadth of the West Coast Main Line. Launched at London’s Euston station March 31st train 390155 is wrapped as a high-speed advert for the new film. The train was also named ‘X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST’ after the new film which is released on May 22nd..
The Twentieth Century Fox movie, which features Hugh Jackman and James McAvoy who unveiled the train name, will carry its distinctive advertising livery until July with each carriage having its own striking character wrap. Virgin has confirmed that the nameplates will left on the train when the wrap is removed.
The ‘wrap’ was manufactured and applied by Stewart Signs (www.stewartsigns.co.uk) at Alstom’s Longsight depot in Manchester, where the nameplates were also fitted. To keep the design secret, the train was moved under cover of darkness to London for its’ high-profile unveiling.
Virgin Trains Lead Executive Phil Whittingham said: “For us it’s all about our relationship with speed. This latest instalment in the X-MEN franchise ties in perfectly with Virgin Trains’ relationship with travel. Time travel is a key theme throughout the new movie and at Virgin Trains we strive to make sure our customers’ journeys are as quick as possible, as if our train are travel devices.”
Chris Green the Theatrical Marketing Director at Twentieth Century Fox said: “This is a really exciting partnership for Twentieth Century Fox and Virgin Trains. By commissioning the first ever X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST train we have been able to bring the film to Virgin Trains’ customers and fans across the country in a unique and original was ahead of its release on May 22nd.
The striking train is part of a Virgin Trains strategy to bring the Virgin Trains experience to life for its customers.
Virgin worked closely with Network Rail and Euston’s Platform 16, where the train naming took place became Platform X and station notice cases displayed witty messages. Wolverhampton station was also referred to as Wolverine station.
This is the third Virgin Pendolino to receive an all-over advertising wrap. Previously Pendolino 390029 has carried all-over branding for the Manchester International Festival and also a Superman movie. In 2013 an East Coast train carried all-over branding for the James Bond film Skyfall.
X-Men makeover for Virgin Trains' Pendolino
Virgin Trains is partnering 20th Century Fox to promote the new X-Men movie, X-Men: Days of Future Past.
The film launches in May and Virgin Trains will unveil a Pendolino with an advertising wrap for the new movie in the next few weeks.
Virgin Trains says that with the movie having a theme of time travel this latest X-Men adventure fits perfectly with Virgin Trains’ relationship with speed.
Rail Gourmet ousted as Virgin Trains turns to DHL for catering logistics
Virgin Trains has ditched Rail Gourmet, who have provided its catering logistics operation for the last 15 years.
From March 30th the job will be undertaken by global logistics company DHL. Best known for its role as a parcel delivery company, DHL also offers customised logistics services.
It will provide the logistics for catering onboard Virgin's trains and also in its First Class Lounges at stations.
It provides a similar service that that which it will deliver to Virgin Trains to several international airlines.
The change is part of a review of Virgin Trains' suppliers. A result of the same review will see VT's IT networks being provides by Virgin Media instead of Cable & Wireless whilst the contract for advertising at stations moves from JCDecaux to Experion.
Vintage bus day to mark Stagecoach MD's retirement
Vintage buses will be in service in Cheltenham on May 31st to mark the retirement of Stagecoach West's Managing Director Ian Manning.
Steven Knight Media understand that over 20 vintage buses are likely to be in service on local routes and also longer distance services to Gloucester. Stagecoach East and Stagecoach Midlands have confirmed that they intend to take their Bristol FLFs to Cheltenham for the day.
Following a brief spell in the steel industry, Ian Manning joined the bus industry in 1976 in the planning department at Lothian Region Transport in Edinburgh. Three years later he joined Scottish Bus Group subsidiary W. Alexander & Sons (Northern) as Assistant Planner and was appointed as SBG Group Commercial Officer in 1981.
He later moved to another Scottish Bus Group subsidiary, Clydeside Scottish before landing the role of Operations Manager at Southdown Motor Services in Chichester in 1989. Shortly afterwards the company was sold to Stagecoach and Ian Manning was made redundant, quickly moving on to become Deputy County Passenger Transport Officer at Buckinghamshire County Council.
With a known interest in the Portuguese bus industry, about which he has now written four books, in 1996 Ian Manning was invited back to become the Managing Director of Stagecoach Portugal and ran the company for almost five years. He then moved to Arriva’s Portuguese operations in 2001 but returned to Stagecoach in 2004 as Managing Director of Stagecoach West. When he retires on 31 May 2014, it will be 11 years to the day since he took on that role and, during that time, the company has increased in fleet size by 15%.
Ian Manning said: “My career has taken lots of twists and turns and I have actually had three incarnations at Stagecoach. The bus industry is something that has always interested me and it has been a privilege to have been able to contribute to the industry and to do a job I genuinely love.
“Bus operators have a hard job to do but over the years we have become better at delivering the kind of service our customers rightly expect. The industry can still improve further of course and, provided it has support from local and central Government, I believe bus travel will continue to go from strength to strength in the years to come.
DRS open doors at Crewe Gresty Bridge to rail press
Throughout the 1990s, I worked for RAIL magazine and had frequent visits to rail maintenance depots across the country. Whenever a visit was made the depot was always full, no matter what time of day or day of the week. That has now changed and many depots have closed.
However, on Tuesday March 11th I joined a large band of railway journalists at Direct Rail Services' Gresty Bridge depot in Crewe. Walking into the yard outside the depot was like going back in time. Over a dozen diesel locomotives - and a Class 90 - were present.
The diesel locomotives spanned many decades with Class 37s and 47s rubbing shoulders with Class 57s and 66s and also new Class 68 68002 - not forgetting a Class 20.
With wall to wall sun and deep blue sky, it was hard not to reel off dozens of photographs, which we can share with you.
DRS says that the tests of its new Class 68 diesel locomotive are going well and within weeks it should be back out on the main line hauling test trains as part of its acceptance trials before it is put into revenue earning service.
Neil McNicholas, Managing Director of Direct Rail Services said, "The Class 68 locomotives are set to further extend DRS' capabilities and give our clients an even faster and more efficient service. The Class 68 is just the first component of a wider DRS fleet strategy designed to ensure that we can offer our clients the most efficient and flexible service well into the future.
DRS' Big Blue Mean Machine for Virgin's Pretendolino
Direct Rail Services has unveiled a Class 90 locomotive in its distinctive dark blue livery.
90034 will be put to work as the dedicated locomotive for Virgin Train's Mk3 Pretendolino set.
Virgin signed a two year contract with DRS to provide a Class 90 locomotive for its Mk3 set in December last year. 90034 will be dedicated to the work and will be kept at Wembley depot where it will be attached to the Pretendolino.
90034 is owned by DBS and is hired by DRS, who are then providing it to Virgin. It will return to Crewe every 21 days for exam, but the plan is that it will go back to Wembley depot the same day.
Virgin uses its MK3 set for charter operations as well as the 19:03 London Euston-Birmingham and 2050 return services on Thursdays and Fridays. 90034 will gain Virgin logos before it is moved to Wembley depot later this month.
Northampton's new Bus Station causes traffic chaos
Traffic in Northampton's centre was brought to a standstill yesterday as the roads around the new Northgate bus station ground to a halt.
The Police were called and closed some local roads to ease the congestion and get vehicles moving.
Bus passengers were left frustrated as buses suffered severe delays in accessing and leaving the new bus station, which only opened on Sunday 2nd March.
Reports reaching Steven Knight Media suggest that some bus services we delayed by more than an hour.
Northampton Borough Council has had engineers working through the night implementing a number of traffic control measures, which it hopes will prevent a repeat of yesterday's embarrassing problems.
Stagecoach places £100million order for 568 new buses and coaches
Stagecoach has placed orders for 568 new buses and coaches, worth just over £100million for delivery in 2014/15. Included are 26 new coaches to enable the upgrading of the entire Oxford Tube fleet.
350 buses will be fitted with Wi Fi and 38 will be to full Stagecoach Gold specification.
Deliveries will start in Spring 2014.
Full details of the order are:
69 ADL Enviro 400 Scania double-deck
86 ADL Enviro 300 single-deckers
28 ADL Enviro 300 Scania single-deck
23 ADL Enviro 300 Scania GAS single-deckers
26 Astromega Euro 6 double deck coaches
3 Astromega Euro 5 double-deck coaches
6 Van Hool Altano TDX 21 left-hand drive coaches
199 ADL Enviro 200 Dart 4 midibuses
2 ADL Enviro 200 Dart 4 Euro 6 midibuses
29 ADL Enviro400 Euro 6 double-deckers
13 Optare Solo Cummins minibuses
8 Plaxton Elite i Volvo B11R Euro 6 coaches
3 Van Hool Astromega double-deck sleepercoach vehicles
32 Wrightbus Gemini Volvo B5LH Euro 6 hybrid double-deckers
40 ADL Enviro 400 Trident Euro 6 hybrid double-deckers
1 ADL Enviro 400 Trident Conventional Euro 6
Steven Knight is a Transport Specialist who has over 40 years experience in the bus and rail industries as well as in specialist transport journalism. He is a member of the Chartered Institute of Journalists.