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Saturday services transformed on Virgin Trains' east coast route

Customers on Virgin Trains' east coast route will see the biggest boost to Saturday services in more than 25 years this December.

A new timetable, part of a £140m investment in the route by Virgin Trains, will change weekend travel for thousands of customers. More frequent services to and from destinations including Leeds, York and Newark Northgate will mean customers will benefit from a similar frequency of services to those enjoyed on weekdays.

In total, 151 services will operate every Saturday, only six fewer than on weekdays. From December 17, there will be a further 24 Saturday services, an increase of 45% compared to when Virgin Trains took over the east coast route in March 2015. This will add 12,574 more seats to Virgin Trains' existing capacity. The timetable represents the biggest increase in Saturday services since the introduction of Intercity 225 trains in 1990, following electrification of the East Coast Mainline.

York travellers wanting to reach the capital for a 7am start on weekdays will benefit from a 4.40am service, giving them an extra 1hr12m in London than was possible under the previous timetable. This follows calls from the business community for a service that enables them to get to the capital for early-morning meetings.

The new timetable will accelerate journeys from Leeds and Wakefield to London by seven minutes on Saturdays making the trip from Wakefield an average of two hours long. A Sunday evening service from London to Doncaster which leaves at 10.05pm will be extended to York, allowing those wishing to make the most of a weekend in London to catch a later service home.

Rob McIntosh, Route Managing Director at Network Rail, said: "I'm delighted that after working closely with Virgin Trains we have, together, produced a new timetable which balances the needs of customers with the need to maintain a safe and reliable network for the benefit of the communities and economies our railway serves."

Virgin Trains introduced 45 additional services per week between Edinburgh and London last year as it completed a programme to overhaul the interiors of its entire train fleet. 

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