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Rail News: Passenger Rail

'Mission Possible' rolls off assembly line into West Coast service


When Sir Richard Branson visited ALSTOM three years ago, he challenged the workforce to achieve "Mission Impossible" and deliver the first Pendolino tilting trains to Virgin Trains’ West Coast line before the end of 2001. That train was delivered Nov. 26, and Virgin Train shareholders Sir Richard and Brian Souter dubbed the train "Mission Possible" in honor of the workers’ success.

Not only did ALSTOM deliver the first train well before year-end, the company delivered the second train, as well, which was named "Virgin Lady."

Last November, Virgin Trains ordered 53 Pendolinos at a total cost of $853 million. Now that delivery has begun, a complete $15.6 million train is scheduled to roll off the production line weekly.

"We are now only months away from getting the Pendolinos into passenger service on the West Coast and continue the process of replacing the entire Virgin fleet," said Souter, chairman Stagecoach Group, in a prepared statement. "In just a couple of years, Virgin will have replaced its entire West Coast and CrossCountry fleet, and our passengers will see for themselves what a 21st Century railway looks like."

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More News from 11/28/2001