BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: UK: Politics  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
England
N Ireland
Scotland
Wales
Politics
Education
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
EDITIONS
Sunday, 11 August, 2002, 04:50 GMT 05:50 UK
Special trains for Labour conference
Virgin Pendolino trains
The work will eventually see 125mph Virgin trains in use
Virgin is to lay on special trains for delegates going to the Labour Party conference in Blackpool to avoid the disruption caused by weekend work on the West Coast mainline.

While thousands of ordinary passengers change from trains to buses and back to trains again - adding at least an hour to their journeys - government supporters will be whizzed up to the seaside town non-stop by rail.

The 6.3bn upgrading of the West Coast Mainline from London to Glasgow is scheduled to go on every weekend until December.

Delays misery

Passengers are being bussed between Hemel Hempstead and Milton Keynes so engineers can work on the line.

The work started this weekend and already thousands have been delayed.

However, the special service being laid on for next month's party conference will travel by a different route, joining the Great Western line out of London and calling at Reading, Oxford, Banbury and Birmingham.


Nobody pretends we have got the perfect rail system in Britain

Labour Party spokesman

A Virgin spokesman denied that it was being done as a special favour for the government, pointing out that additional trains would also be laid on for the Conservative conference in Bournemouth and the Liberal Democrats in Brighton.

"We recognise that vast numbers of people travel to and from party conferences," the spokesman said.

"We have a need to move lots of people from London to Blackpool. We have worked with the organisers and planned it accordingly."

Pendolino trains

A Labour Party spokesman defended the arrangement, saying they would be accused of "clogging up" the system if special trains had not been arranged.

"Nobody pretends we have got the perfect rail system in Britain," he said.

"The Labour Party and the government are well aware of the problems on the West Coast line. That is why we have the investment going into it."

The work on the West Coast line is long over-due and will allow for the introduction of Virgin's new 125mph Pendolino trains.

BBC News Online's in-depth coverage on the state of the UK's railways


10 year rail plan

1,000 MILE RAIL TRIP
See also:

10 Aug 02 | England
22 Jul 02 | Business
27 Jun 02 | Business
14 Jan 02 | Politics
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


E-mail this story to a friend



© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes