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Virgin Trains unveils futuristic changes at Birmingham International

Virgin Trains has unveiled its new-look Birmingham International station, calling the transformed open-plan station its vision for ‘stations of the future’.

An investment of over £1m has transformed the station’s ticketing area, replacing the traditional booking office window with a welcome desk complete with user-friendly ‘service pods’.

Other features of the revamp include a greater staff presence on the station concourse, the introduction of wireless charging for customer devices, free wi-fi and refurbished toilet facilities. 

“We’ve never been afraid to challenge traditional thinking,” said Natasha Grice, Virgin Trains general manager for the West Midlands route. “We are committed to innovation and the ‘Station of the Future’ project is just another example, coming on the back of the launch of Beam, our free onboard content service, the introduction of Automatic Delay Repay and the roll out of m-tickets including our new web to wallet facility.”

“More importantly these changes are being driven by our customers. In the last year alone we’ve seen a fivefold increase in the number of customers using paperless tickets. More and more are now arriving at the station having bought their tickets.”

Simon Greaves, Virgin Trains station manager at Birmingham international, praised the station’s smaller reliance on a traditional booking office.

As part of the greater staff presence on the station concourse, more staff will walk the floor carrying tablets to assist passengers with onward travel requests.

“With the support of our team at International, this new approach is about how we make the best use of our people, backed by the very latest in new technology for the benefit of our customers,” Greaves said. “We want to make it as easy as possible for them.”

The new concourse was officially launched by the Rt Hon Dame Caroline Spelman MP, who revealed her delight in being invited to re-open the station in her constituency of Meriden. She also expressed her hopes that the improved facilities would encourage more people to travel by rail.

“Virgin Trains has a strong reputation for providing its customers with an outstanding service, and I am delighted to welcome further investment in this important regional transport hub,” she said.

The revamp of Birmingham International was made possible due to the support of a number of local businesses including architects AHR, Overbury and Infotec. The global construction firm Mace were in charge of the overall project management.

Over six and a half million journeys are made to and from Birmingham International each year. The falling number of transactions made at the station’s ticket office suggested the need for the station’s new approach, having dropped from 50% to 40% over the past two years.

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