Virgin Trains adds extra service for Wembley–bound South Shields FC fans

Virgin Trains has added an extra service to London to help fans of South Shields Football Club enjoy their big day out at the final of The Buildbase FA Vase.

The Mariners will play at Wembley Stadium for the first time in the club’s history on Sunday 21 May when they take on Cleethorpes Town.

The match will kick off at 12.15 and fans will also have the opportunity to watch York City and Macclesfield Town compete for The Buildbase FA Trophy final which kicks off at 16.15.

Virgin Trains will operate an additional service to London King’s Cross on 21 May, departing from Newcastle at 07.08 and calling at Durham at 07.22, Darlington at 07.40 and York at 08.22 where it will also pick up Wembley-bound fans of York City FC. The service is scheduled to arrive into the capital at 10.23.

South Shields FC Joint Manager Graham Fenton said: “Our fans and the wider community in and around South Shields is really buzzing as it looks forward to our first ever trip to play at Wembley – a once in a lifetime experience for many players and fans.

“We’re very grateful for Virgin Trains for stepping in and putting on an extra service early on the Sunday morning to help get fans to Wembley in good time. It’s a fantastic gesture of support for the club and the South Shields community.”

On Tuesday night the Mariners won the Northern League title. This followed a 1-0 win at local rivals North Shields earlier in the month which secured promotion to the Evo-Stick First Division.

David Foley, who scored the winning goal against North Shields, added: “While lots of young people dream of playing at Wembley we’ve been absolutely overwhelmed by the amount of support we’ve had from the local community, not just in terms of fans buying tickets for the final of the FA Vase, but also the record-breaking attendances we’ve had this year, with more than 40,000 attending our home matches over the course of the season.

“It’s been an amazing season and we’re hoping to finish it off with a trophy at Wembley next month.”

Claire Ansley, General Manager for Virgin Trains on its east coast route, said: “We’re delighted to add this extra return service for South Shields FC fans.

“It’s important to us that we support our local communities on our route, and we hope many Mariners fans will be able to travel to London and back for the FA Vase in style on our newly refurbished trains.”

Tickets can be booked via Virgin Trains’ website:

About Virgin Trains:

Stagecoach and Virgin are working in partnership to operate the East Coast and West Coast inter-city routes under the Virgin Trains brand. Together, they are on track to revolutionise rail travel across the UK.

The combined network connects some of the nation’s most iconic destinations including Glasgow, Liverpool, Birmingham, Manchester, Edinburgh, Newcastle, Leeds, York and London.

Virgin Trains is committed to delivering a high speed, high frequency service, offering shorter journey times, more comfortable travel and excellent customer service. Customers consistently rate Virgin Trains as one of the top long-distance rail franchise operators in the National Rail Passenger Survey (NRPS) commissioned by industry watchdog, Transport Focus.

On the East Coast route, £140m is being invested to create a more personalised travel experience. We have already invested £21m to completely revamp our existing fleet and customers can now benefit from 42 additional services (22,000 extra seats) per week between Edinburgh and London. 2018 will see the introduction of completely new Azuma trains being built in the UK by Hitachi.

The West Coast route has a proud record of challenging the status quo – from introducing tilting Pendolino trains, to a pioneering automated delay repay scheme and becoming the first franchised rail operator to offer m-Tickets for all ticket types.

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