Train Travels: Volume 10 – Special: Virgin Trains/West Coast Mainline

The train line that we have most regularly used in the UK is the West Coast Main Line, which runs up the west side of England to Scotland, from London in the South to Glasgow/Edinburgh in the North. There are various off shoots to the line, but the main section is:

London Euston – Glasgow Central

Calling at:

This is the section we use the most, mainly travelling between Preston and Carlisle, however we have made quite a few journeys up to both Glasgow and Edinburgh. The main route operator on the West Coast Main Line is Virgin Trains, who own the West Coast franchise at the moment. Lockerbie and Motherwell are occasional stops and trains only call here every few hours.

There are two main types of train used on the main line by Virgin Trains:

WCML 1

1) Virgin Pendolino

Generally made up of 11 coaches, the electric Pendolino sets are allowed to run at up to 125 mph, and tilt on corners to help them pass round them quicker. These run on most of the routes, except the Chester to Holyhead route as that hasn’t been electrified yet.

WCML 2

2) Virgin Voyagers

Very similar to the Pendolinos however they are typically made up of between three and five coaches, and sometimes two sets of coaches are joined up as two trains to make either 6 or 10 coaches. They are diesel trains as opposed to running on the overhead wires, so they can run on the Chester – Holyhead route, and are also used on the other routes but less frequently than the Pendolinos. They tilt just as the Pendolinos do, to help them move around corners faster.

Other Lines: (With Main Stations)

  • London Euston – Liverpool Lime Street
  • London Euston – Manchester Piccadilly
  • London Euston – Glasgow Central/Edinburgh Waverley
    • (Via Milton Keynes Central, Coventry, Birmingham International, Birmingham New Street, Sandwell & Dudley, Wolverhampton, Crewe, Warrington Bank Quay, Wigan North Western, Preston, Lancaster, Oxenholme The Lake District, Penrith North Lakes, Carlisle, Lockerbie, Motherwell, Glasgow Central/Haymarket, Edinburgh Waverley)
  • London Euston/Birmingham New Street – Holyhead/Chester
    •  (Via Sandwell & Dudley, Wolverhampton/Milton Keynes Central, Stafford, Chester, Flint, Prestatyn, Rhyl, Colwyn Bay, Llandudno Junction, Bangor and Holyhead)

There are many amazing towns and cities at the end of the various West Coast Main Line routes, and below is a selection of them:

The newest service on the line is an extension to the Edinburgh Waverley/Glasgow Central – Birmingham New Street service, which now goes past Birmingham to Birmingham International Airport, Coventry, Milton Keynes Central and into London Euston, providing once again a complete link from London Euston to Edinburgh Waverley. 

For more information visit the Virgin Trains website, or to see a route map click here.

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