Virgin Trains

A Pictorial Tribute

Fred Kerr

Fred Kerr's book seeks to explain the history of Virgin Trains' involvement in train operations through a comprehensive collection of photographs showing the traction fleet that it inherited and the new fleets it introduced to service.
Date Published :
August 2022
Publisher :
Pen and Sword
Illustration :
250 color & black and white illustrations
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding : Hardback
ISBN : 9781526793317

Dimensions : 11 X 8.4 inches
Stock Status : In stockPages : 128
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When British Railways (BR) was privatized in April 1994 a series of passenger franchises was created that included services on both the East Coast Main Line (ECML) and competing West Coast Main Line (WCML) routes.

The WCML franchise was won by Virgin Trains and it quickly set about improving service by introducing a range of standard trainsets to replace the variety of traction fleets that it had inherited. It also became a constant critic of Government policy which promised much but offered little as the company found itself battling to establish the standards of service that it had promised within its franchise agreement but found other bodies within the industry reluctant to support.

Fred Kerr lives at Southport hence his nearness to the WCML and his book seeks to illustrate the period of changes that Virgin Trains initiated from the immediate application of a startling livery to the introduction of new trainsets and the problems of establishing a new timetable to make the most of the new trainsets.

The operation of the WCML franchise identified problems with both the nature and structure of the franchise system which were exemplified when the company finally managed to win the ECML franchise although it surrendered the latter when major problems were identified by the company.

The company subsequently lost the WCML franchise and hence its involvement with train operations within the United Kingdom and Fred Kerr’s book seeks to explain the history of Virgin Trains involvement in train operations through a comprehensive collection of photographs showing the traction fleet that it inherited and the new fleets it introduced to service.

About The Author

Fred Kerr was born in Edinburgh in 1948 where he gained an interest in railway locomotives from both the LMSR and LNER companies whose services permeated the local network. When his parents moved to Corby in 1956 the local steelworks provided further interest from its mix of freight services, including seeing the last of the Beyer Garrets and the replacement Standard Class 9Fs whilst the industrial locomotives of the internal steelworks network offered further insight into the variety of steam locomotives. This was a time of change and during the 1960s the interest in locomotives included the new order of diesel and electric traction without reducing the interest in steam traction. While his interest in Diesel Traction led to his early involvement with the Diesel & Electric Group and its preservation activities during the 1970s, his move to Southport in 1982 restored his opportunities to return to his first love of viewing steam locomotives at work and this album records some of the locations that he chose to visit and the locomotives that he was able to photograph.

Today his interest continues as a life member of the A4 Locomotive Society, Keighley & Worth Valley Railway and Ribble Steam Railway whilst he also support bodies concerned with preserving steam locomotives, diesel locomotives and infrastructure extensions.

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