Virgin trains plans to launch new service between Liverpool and London

Virgin Trains

Virgin Trains has said it wants to launch a new hourly train service between Liverpool and London.

The firm said it wants to launch the new service when it loses the West Coast Mainline franchise next year.

Virgin has been told by the government it is not allowed to bid for the franchise because it did not meet pension rules.

It is now looking highly likely a Chinese led consortium will take over the franchise.

Virgin said its fares will be “at least 10% cheaper” than its rivals and a reservation-only model would mean all passengers were guaranteed a seat.

The firm has submitted proposals to the Office of Rail and Road (ORR).

The new service would run between Liverpool Lime Street and Euston, calling at Liverpool South Parkway, Nuneaton, Tamworth and Lichfield.

Virgin said journey times would be slower than the current service but less than two-and-a-half hours.

Virgin will stop running trains on the West Coast Mainline when a new operator takes over in March 2020.

Virgin managing director Phil Whittingham said: “These new services will allow us to take the customer experience on the UK’s railways to the next level and show the rest of the industry how it can be done.”

An ORR spokesman said it would consider Virgin’s application “in line with our open access policy”.