Virgin Reveals West Coast WiFi Refit Plans

(26 Feb 2018, BWCS Staff)

Virgin Trains says it plans to spend £7.5 million refitting its West Coast fleet in order to offer “improved” on-board WiFi. The investment will see new wireless kit installed on each of its 56 of the company’s West Coast mainline Pendolinos. This, Virgin, says will allow it to eventually offer all of its passengers access to on-train WiFi.

The new money is part of a deal with the UK government which will see Virgin continue to run the franchise until March 2019, with the possibility of a further extension after that, before the franchise goes to tender again.

The company said that installation of the new equipment will begin in May of this year and should be complete by January 2019. In a statement Virgin Trains underlined that over 85% of its passengers travel on the Pendolino trains. The company also said it is keen to identify and eliminate so-call not-spots, where the trains run through areas not currently covered by mobile phone masts. However, Virgin did not offer any clues as to how it intended to remove these.

In addition to the WiFi improvements on board, the new contract will also see all station ticket machines upgraded to accept contactless payment. Virgin said that it will also offer more information on the trains as well as other improvements such as additional seating at stations and improved toilets, lighting and carpets on board.

The expanding market for on-board WiFi services as well as the problems of intermittent mobile coverage, proposed trackside solutions and other issues will all be covered in this year’s WiFi on Trains Conference hosted by BWCS. For more information on this year’s event please see or contact  .

This year's Train Communications System Conference will be sponsored by Icomera, Nomad Digital, Fluidmesh, 21Net, RADWIN and BAI Communications.



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