Business Growth Brings a First Class Expansion

06 April 2016

Station managers Virgin Trains East Coast unveiled their exclusive new waiting room this week with a little help from singer and TV presenter Jane McDonald.

The first-class lounge on the Westgate platforms could previously only accommodate eight travellers, but after a rise in the number of passengers booking first-class tickets from Wakefield to London, it can now hold 16 people.

It is one of eight lounges at stations along the famous London-Edinburgh route to receive a makeover and the Virgin red colour scheme.

The room is now also geared up for business travel, with new meeting points, desks to work at, relaxation areas, free wi-fi and power sockets and a range of drinks, snacks and complementary newspapers.

First-class ticket sales have grown by six per cent since Virgin took over the route last March.

Wakefield is the second lounge to officially open to the public after Newcastle, and former Loose Women star Jane, who lives locally, cut the ribbon alongside Wakefield Council’s Service Director for Planning, Transportation & Highways Neil Rodgers. 

“It’s always great to hear about investment in our railways to encourage more people to do business in Wakefield and make our region even more attractive to visitors,”

said Mr Rodgers.

Virgin’s general manager Maxine Joicey said the new layouts were a response to customer demand to be able to prepare for business meetings before boarding a train.

“Our amazing lounge transformation at Wakefield Westgate Station is the latest investment that will help us lift the experience for our First Class customers and stand us apart from any other mode of transport,” 

“We know that being able to relax ahead of a journey or prepare for that key business meeting is one of the things that our customers really value. We’re confident that providing some Virgin style to these lounges will help us to meet this increasing demand for first-class travel.”