Virgin wins £16m Edinburgh rail fleet contract

Nicola Sturgeon attends the official rebranding of the Flying Scotsman''with Managing Director of Virgin Trains East Coast David Horne and Virgin Train staff. Picture: Lisa Ferguson
Nicola Sturgeon attends the official rebranding of the Flying Scotsman''with Managing Director of Virgin Trains East Coast David Horne and Virgin Train staff. Picture: Lisa Ferguson
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A MAJOR train operator has signed a multi-million pound deal to continue servicing its fleet in the Capital.

The £16 million contract will see Virgin Trains’ diesel engines refurbished at the company’s Craigentinny depot.

The announcement was made as a new-look train for the Flying Scotsman was unveiled during a ceremony at Waverley Station attended by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

Virgin Trains, which runs a four-hour express service from the Capital to London, has re-liveried a locomotive to promote rail travel to and from Scotland.

Ms Sturgeon said: “For over 150 years the Flying Scotsman service has connected Edinburgh and London by the historic east coast rail route.

“It is wonderful to see the name of the Flying Scotsman train kept alive on the route with a new, contemporary design.

“I am also delighted that the refurbishment of Virgin’s diesel engines will draw on the local skills and talents of the Craigentinny workforce.”

The £16m deal with engine manufacturer MTU will see all 35 diesel engines refurbished over the next two years.

David Horne, managing director at Virgin Trains on the east coast route, said: “We are thrilled to continue the legendary name of the Flying Scotsman. Flying Scotsman trains brought style to the railways for many years.

“Our new train is a design twist on the legendary Flying Scotsman, recreating the glamour of rail travel for the 21st century, using our distinctive Virgin brand and style.

“We are pleased that the work to install the engines, which will also be in Virgin red, will take place in Edinburgh.

“We continue to play a key role in the economy of the Capital and Scotland as a whole, where more than 700 of our workforce are based.”

The original steam 
locomotive was built in Doncaster for the London and North Eastern Railway, emerging from the works on February 24, 1923 and given the name Flying Scotsman after the London to Edinburgh service which started daily at 10am.

It was retired in 1963 by British Rail and ownership changed hands among several rail enthusiasts before the National Railway Museum bought it for more than 
£2m.

The train is now undergoing complex restoration work.