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Painting the Town Red for Magna Carta 800

Extra direct London-Lincoln trains are on their way for key Saturdays during 2015 on the new Virgin Trains East Coast line.

Date: 27th Mar '15

Pictured: John Plumridge (University of Lincoln), Michael Armstrong (Lincoln BIG), Cllr Colin Davie (Lincolnshire County Council), one of the barons from the Barons' Charter Trail, Cllr Ric Metcalfe (City of Lincoln Council), Emma Tatlow (Visit Lincoln Partnership), David Horne (Virgin Trains East Coast)

Virgin Trains East Coast Managing Director David Horne announced today (Friday 27 March 2015) that extra direct London-Lincoln trains are to run on five Saturdays between June and October to bring thousands of visitors straight to the heart of the city’s Magna Carta 800 celebrations.

The train operator, which took over direct services between the capitals of Lincolnshire and England on 1 March, is sponsoring a ‘Railway Red Baron’ sculpture – one of 25 sculpted King John Barons which will form an exciting and educational trail across Lincoln city centre for the whole family to enjoy.

Virgin Trains East Coast is also speeding up its current weekday morning train to London by 10 minutes, thanks to a partnership forged with regional rail operator East Midlands Trains and rail infrastructure owner Network Rail.

David Horne was on hand in front of Lincoln’s iconic Cathedral to start decorating its sponsored ‘Railway Red Baron’ sculpture in trademark Virgin red.

David said: “We are delighted to work closely with tourism agency Visit Lincoln and the many organisations who co-operate to promote Lincoln as a fantastic visitor destination, in such an important year for the city’s history and heritage.

“We’ll be running 10 extra special services between London and Lincoln on five Saturdays from June to October, timed to bring visitors to the key events in this Magna Carta 800 year.

“From Monday 17 May our existing weekday morning Lincoln to London service will be speeded up, saving our customers 10 minutes every time they travel. And, from May 2019, we will run seven weekday direct London-Lincoln services and six from Lincoln to London, compared with the one service we have now.

“We’ve listened carefully to the people of Lincoln and the wider county, who told us they want more London direct trains – and as we’re all about improving the customer experience, we’re going to do just that.”

Virgin Trains East Coast is working closely with tourism agency Visit Lincoln to spread the word about this summer’s Magna Carta 800 events. 2015 marks the 800th anniversary of the sealing of the historic charter by King John in 1215: only four original copies remain, and Lincoln is the only place in the world where an original copy of Magna Carta can be seen, with the Charter of the Forest, issued in 1217 to amplify the original charter.

A new home and visitor centre for Lincoln’s Magna Carta is currently being built in Lincoln Castle. It will open on 1 April 2015.

Mark Hollingworth, Visit Lincoln Chairman, said today: “Visit Lincoln is delighted that Virgin Trains East Coast have been able to secure additional train services from London to Lincoln. The visitor economy is of significant importance to the area - and we know that ease of access to any destination is key to attracting more visitors.

“This year provides a once in a lifetime opportunity to raise awareness of Lincoln and to grow our visitor economy, so we are delighted to be working with Virgin Trains East Coast to raise awareness of the services and bring new visitors to Lincoln during these key weekends.“

Today’s announcement took place in front of Lincoln Cathedral, which for centuries has drawn pilgrims to the city. Andrea Green, from the Cathedral, said: “We are delighted that the addition of train services from London to Lincoln will give more people the opportunity to come and visit our city.

“Lincoln Cathedral is such an iconic building and very popular with visitors. 2015 is a significant year, with the 800th Anniversary of Magna Carta and a fantastic events programme in the Cathedral and beyond that now really is the ideal time for Virgin Trains East Coast to offer additional trains.”

Councillor Ric Metcalfe, Leader of City of Lincoln Council, said today: “It is excellent news that Virgin Trains East Coast is recognising the importance of our 2015 Magna Carta celebrations. We look forward to the day when a city of Lincoln's importance has the train service to and from London that it needs and deserves.”