First anniversary of Virgin Trains service celebrated

First anniversary of Virgin Trains service celebrated

In December 2015, Virgin Trains’ power car 43274 was named the “Spirit of Sunderland” to mark the arrival of its inaugural daily service into London King’s Cross. Virgin Trains has now presented an identical replica commemorative plate to Sunderland City Council.

Last year, the local authority worked closely with Virgin Trains to launch and promote the service, including helping to create a special design for the power car, complete with city landmarks, iconic images and “Spirit of Sunderland” plates to reflect the passion and history of the city.

The commemorative plate was presented to Councillor Henry Trueman, Deputy Leader of Sunderland City Council, by on-board staff member Denise Blas, who worked on the first service and is a proud resident of the city.

Councillor Trueman said: “It’s really important for the biggest city between Leeds and Edinburgh to have a direct link to the capital. It’s really useful for businesses and leisure travellers, including shoppers, and great that they can go from Sunderland city centre direct into the centre of London with Virgin Trains.

“I am delighted to receive this plate on behalf of Sunderland City Council and to continue to work with Virgin Trains to help grow its service from the city.”

Denise Blas said: “I’m so proud to be from Sunderland and to have helped to launch the service last year. This included meeting Sunderland football players Lee Cattermole and Fabio Borini at the Stadium of Light – which was great as a big fan of the club and season ticket holder!

“I’ve really enjoyed working on this service and was really pleased to hand over this plate to the council on behalf of Virgin Trains.”

Virgin Trains operates the 05.40 departure from Sunderland on Mondays to Fridays, calling at Newcastle, Durham, Darlington, York and Peterborough. This is scheduled to arrive into London King’s Cross at 09.06. The return service departs at 20.00 and arrives into Sunderland at 23.20.

Virgin Trains’ General Manager Claire Ansley said: “We were delighted to recognise the support of the council by presenting it with this plate. We will continue to work with it and other organisations within the city as we look to grow our service ahead of the introduction of an additional return service from Sunderland to London, which we plan to introduce from 2020.”

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Sunderland is home of the National Glass Centre - the only UK centre celebrating the history of glass making and providing a world focus for glass. The centre reopened in 2013 after undergoing a major refurbishment.

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