Virgin Trains customers will now be able to enjoy free Wi-Fi and greater access to its BEAM entertainment hub when travelling on board, following an upgrade to its Pendolino fleet using Formula 1-derived connectivity solutions from McLaren Applied Technologies.
The final train in a fleet of 56 Pendolinos was fitted with new hardware earlier this month and is part of a range of improvements to improve customer experience on Virgin Trains across the UK network.
As part of the upgrade, the trains have had a complete refresh with engineers installing 77,183 metres (47.96 miles) of cable into the 574 coaches.
This development comes as a new online portal – known as vthub.uk – has also been developed by Virgin Trains for those travelling to get the most from of their journey.
Anyone using Wi-Fi on Virgin Trains will be directed to the portal's landing page where they will be able to access the updated free onboard train entertainment service BEAM, as well as access to journey planner and the food and beverage menu.
The hardware and software for the Wi-Fi upgrade was supplied by McLaren Applied Technologies, which draws on a 30-year heritage leading the transformation of motorsport and Formula 1 and has been tested over a number of months to deliver an improvement in coverage and performance.
Paul Bebbington, Director of Public Transport, McLaren Applied Technologies, said:
"We're delighted to have worked with Virgin Trains on improving train connectivity performance, keeping customers connected for longer and enabling more data consumption on its fleet.
"In the transport sector, McLaren Applied Technologies is committed to staying at the forefront of technology and innovation, creating long-term passenger and fleet reliability solutions, and we're extremely proud to have contributed to Virgin Trains' vision for the 'Digital Train of the Future'."
John Sullivan, Chief Information Officer at Virgin Trains, said:
"We've been working hard to deliver the best on-board entertainment and Wi-Fi experience for our customers and I believe we've achieved that with this latest upgrade.
"Our enhanced Wi-Fi means customers can stay connected and up to date as they travel, or dip into the latest boxsets and movies through our entertainment service BEAM. We know how important Wi-Fi is for all our customers and we want them to have an amazing experience while travelling on our network."