Virgin Trains will create a half hourly service between Leeds and London six days per week when its new timetable is introduced in May.
An additional 15 services will be scheduled on Saturdays between Leeds and the capital, resulting in a new half hourly service from Monday to Saturday inclusive.
When combined with a further seven services which were introduced in December 2016, a total of 600,000 more seats will have been added to the Leeds-London route when the new timetable is launched on 21 May.
The move follows the opening of a new Virgin Trains ticket area in Leeds station, where staff now meet and greet customers on the concourse and help them to buy tickets or with journey enquiries, and the launch, from next week, of a 50% promotion with fares as low as £7.60 from Leeds or Wakefield to London King’s Cross.
From Monday (27th March) up to 100,000 single tickets between Leeds, Wakefield and London King’s Cross will be sold for just £7.60 in Standard Class and £21.30 in First as Virgin Trains encourages people to leave the cars at home and take a train to the capital instead. The promotion will run from Monday to 12 April, with travel from 18 April to 30 June 2017*
Natasha Wilding, General Manager for Virgin Trains on its east coast route, said: “We’re bringing in more services at weekends so that, for the first time, we’ll have a train every half an hour from Leeds and Wakefield to London six days a week.
“And through our ‘congestion relief’ promotion they could pay as little as £7.60 each way to travel between West Yorkshire and London. This is a great offer for those looking to leave their car at home and take the train to London. Rather than sit in traffic, customers can enjoy a more relaxing and faster journey to the capital with Virgin Trains.”
Eight new services will operate northbound to Wakefield and Leeds from London King’s Cross on Saturdays from 21 May. Seven new southbound services will be introduced from Leeds and Wakefield, while a further southbound service will depart Leeds on Sunday mornings, calling at Wakefield en route to London. Return journey times are expected to be around six minutes quicker.
Gerald Jennings, President of Leeds Chamber of Commerce, said: “The extra rail services between the capital and Leeds will be welcomed by both those who regularly and occasionally use the East Coast Main Line, and are in response to a continual increase in current and forecast demand.
“The additional services will increase choice for the customer and also underline the importance of the Leeds City Region to Virgin Trains.”