First pendolino train due to set off from Blackpool today
The first ever pendolino train to carry passengers from Blackpool to London was due to set off at 10.53am today.
The electric tilting train also carries the hopes the resort may benefit from an increase in visitors from London thanks to the direct service with no changes at Preston and from Birmingham at the weekends.
Virgin Trains was due to give the new four train a day service an official send off today at noon with Blackpool Town Crier Barry McQueen leading the proceedings.
Virgin brought back a direct link to the capital in 2014 with their 05.30 Blackpool North to London Euston and 16.33 London Euston to Blackpool North services.
These followed a campaign to get the through trains re-established.
Those services will return with the completion of electrification and signalling work on the Blackpool North line and they will continue to stop at Poulton and Kirkham stations.
The pendolino trains will not. They will instead stop at Preston, Wigan North Western, Warrington Bank Quay and Rugby.
The pendolino services will run as follows on week days:
• 6.46am London Euston – Blackpool North.• 8.53am London Euston – Blackpool North.• 10.36am London Euston – Blackpool North.• 10.53 Blackpool North – London Euston.• 13.02 Blackpool North – London Euston.• 15.00 Blackpool North – London Euston.
At weekends the services will be:
• 7.21am Birmingham New Street – Blackpool North calling at Wolverhampton, Stafford, Crewe, Warrington Bank Quay, Wigan North Western and Preston.• 8.53am London Euston – Blackpool North.• 10.36am London Euston – Blackpool North.• 10.53am Blackpool North – London Euston.• 13.02 Blackpool North – London Euston.• 15.54 Blackpool North – London Euston.
The new direct service from Birmingham on Saturdays, offers the people of the West Midlands a direct service to Blackpool for the first time in 15 years. Virgin says the boost in services will generate an additional 16,900 seats a week as Blackpool welcomes three new major attractions – ICON rollercoaster at the Pleasure Beach, the elephant house at Blackpool Zoo; and Madame Tussauds.