Virgin Trains urges customers to book seats as holiday trains fill up

2012-12-21 — / — Virgin Trains has seen exceptionally high bookings for services over the Christmas period and is urging customers to ensure they have reserved seats. Around 100 Virgin Trains’ services are already fully booked or almost full. Seat reservations can be made free of charge.

Some seats are always made available for ‘walk up’ customers, but boarding controls will be in place at London Euston and priority will be given to those holding seat reservations.

Customers should also check timetables as Network Rail is carrying out extensive route improvement work from Sunday 23 December. In particular, on Sunday 23 and Monday 24 December the route south of Milton Keynes is closed and trains to and from London Euston will travel by an alternative route, via Coventry, with extended journey times.

Last trains from London Euston on Christmas Eve, for example, will be much earlier than normal. It is recommended that customers should also consider using services of other train companies, such as Chiltern (for the Midlands), East Coast (for Scotland) or East Midlands Trains, for connections to the North West, checking train times with those operators.

The busiest day is expected to be Saturday 22 December, with over 45,000 seats already reserved on that day alone. Christmas Eve will also be very busy, and services will finish much earlier than normal. Bookings for Thursday 20 and Friday 21 December are also heavy. Some 210, 000 Advance tickets have been sold for travel over the holiday period, despite the limited service and extended journey times on some days.

The expected heavy loadings mean that boarding controls will be in place at London Euston station on many services from Friday 21 December until Monday 24 December. Customers with seat reservations will be given priority.

Booking a seat

Customers should take the opportunity to use our seat reservation service when buying tickets in advance. It is easy and is included free of charge when buying in advance on our website (

Customers holding an Off-Peak or Anytime ticket can also reserve a seat, free of charge, either at any manned station or by calling our Customer Relations team on 0845 000 8000. If purchased on the web or through Telesales, customers should phone 0871 977 4222.

Boarding controls at London Euston

To ensure everyone gets home safely this Christmas, and in comfort too, we will be operating boarding controls at London Euston and customers with seat reservations will be given priority.

Due to the expected heavy loadings, boarding controls will be in place for many services from London Euston from Friday 21 December until Monday 24 December. Customers with seat reservations will be given priority.

Timetables and route improvement works

Apart from 25 and 26 December when there will be no trains, all stations will remain open throughout the holiday period although on some days there will be significant alterations to services due to route improvement work.

Whilst full normal services will run on Friday 21 December and during the majority of the day on Saturday 22 December, there will be a very restricted level of service to and from London Euston on Sunday 23 and Monday 24 December due to a major re-signalling scheme being carried out in the Bletchley area.  This combined with the usual earlier shut down means that on 24 December last services on many West Coast routes will run much earlier than normal and it is very important that passengers carefully check train times with a view to using alternative routes where possible.

Customers can find out more information online, by phone or from our stations:
Bookings and train times: visit or call 0871 977 4222

Train times: visit or call 08457 48 49 50

Last trains from London Euston on 24 December (Christmas Eve) leave much earlier than normal

The last Virgin Trains’ services from London Euston on 24 December (Christmas Eve) will be:

Birmingham International: 18.42; Birmingham New Street: 18.42; Carlisle:14.42, change at Crewe; Coventry: 18.42; Crewe: 17:57; Glasgow Central: 14.42, change at Crewe; Lancaster: 14.42, change at Crewe; Liverpool Lime Street: 16:52, change at Crewe; Lockerbie: 14:42, change at Nuneaton and Carlisle; Macclesfield: 15:42, change at Nuneaton; Manchester Piccadilly: 16:52, change at Crewe; Milton Keynes Central (London Midland service): 21:24, travelling via Hemel Hempstead; Motherwell: 13:36, change at Nuneaton and Glasgow Central; Oxenholme Lake District: 14:42, change at Crewe; Penrith North Lakes: 14:42, changing at Nuneaton and Preston; Preston: 14:42, change at Crewe; Rugby: 18:42, change at Coventry; Runcorn: 16:52, change at Crewe; Stafford: 17:57; Sandwell & Dudley: 18:42, change at Birmingham New Street; Stockport: 16:52, change at Crewe; Stoke-on-Trent: 16:52, change at Nuneaton; Tamworth: 16:52, change at Nuneaton; Warrington Bank Quay: 14:42, change at Crewe; Wigan North Western: 14:42, change at Crewe; Wolverhampton: 18:42, change at Birmingham New Street.