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East coast rail line trains given makeover

East Coast mainline trains are to be given a makeover Credit: Virgin

Newly refurbished trains have been unveiled as part of a £40m project to improve east coast rail route rolling stock.

All of Virgin’s trains on its east coast route are being given a makeover with new interiors.

A total of £21m has been earmarked to complete the refurbishment of the trains’ interiors, including adding leather seats to First Class and new carpets and fittings throughout.

The refurbishment programme, which also includes a £16m investment in new diesel engines and the re-branding of the exterior of the trains, has been brought in ahead of the arrival of Virgin’s new fleet in 2018.

Our new fleet of trains arrive in 2018, but we want to ensure the trains people are catching right now deliver the same comfort and glamour for which Virgin Trains is known. The East Coast Mainline features some of the world’s iconic rail journeys and has played host to some of the most famous locomotives ever made, including the Flying Scotsman. Our own uniquely Virgin Flying Scotsman was unveiled last year and is a symbol of this major investment that will bring the Virgin style and a dash of glamour back to the east coast route in the build up to the launch of our new trains.

– David Horne, Managing Director of Virgin Trains on its east coast route

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Train ticket forger told to repay £17,000 or face jail

A train passenger from Doncaster who used forged first-class rail and parking tickets totalling more than £17,000 to travel round the UK has been told to pay back the cash or face jail.

Stock photo Credit: Press Association

Mark Mason used computers at his home to create the forgeries, which he used to travel for more than two years, British Transport Police (BTP) said.

Suspicions about Mason were first raised in autumn 2013 when staff at Doncaster railway station spotted various discrepancies with parking tickets on the contract worker's black Vauxhall Meriva in the executive car park.

These included an expired ticket as well as tickets with the wrong colours, no date and time printed, incorrect emblems and the wrong price paid.

Mason was arrested in December 2013 when he returned his car and 10 more tickets were found in the vehicle which were believed to be forged.

BTP said a search of the defendant's home led to the discovery of forged travel and parking tickets, genuine tickets, glossy photographic paper, computers and printers, craft knives, scissors and a cutting board.

Forensic examination of the computer devices revealed that Mason had used the computers to produce forged travel and parking tickets.

Mason, 44, of Thorne Road, Hatfield, Doncaster, was convicted of fraud charges relating to 85 tickets, valued at £17,000, on September 16 2014 at Sheffield Crown Court, BTP said.

He was sentenced to six months in prison, suspended for two years and ordered to undertake 240 hours of unpaid work and a 12-day restorative justice course.

The force confirmed that a judge at a proceeds of crime hearing last week ordered Mason to pay £17,884 over six months. Failure to pay will result in a default sentence of 12 months in prison.

The offences were committed between March 24 2011 and December 19 2013.

Detective Constable David Williams said: "This sentence sends a clear message to anyone thinking of trying to evade payment of train fares and/or parking that it really isn't worth it.

"Mason must now pay back all the money he thought he had saved with his fraudulent behaviour or face serving a prison sentence."

Free Wi-Fi for rail commuters

Rail passengers will benefit from free Wi-Fi on trains across England and Wales from 2017, Rail Minister Claire Perry announced today.

Train operators are being asked to set how they will meet the commitment to provide this important service for passengers. All train operators bidding for new franchises and direct award agreements will have to include this specification in their bid.

Where there is no new franchise agreement due in the next two years, almost £50 million of funding will be released from the Department for Transport to ensure Wi-Fi is available on selected services from 2017, including services operated by Great Northern.

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Hopes new safety train will cut down on rail tresspassing

A special "safety train" has been set up on a Nottinghamshire rail route to stop the rising number of young people trespassing on the track.

The 30-mile stretch which ends in Worksop will be patrolled by police and rail officials, after figures revealed railway trespass rises during school holidays.

Anyone spotted on the tracks could face a prison sentence or hefty fine - as Hannah Stokes reports.

Rail delays affecting Leeds services

Trains between Leeds and Manchester have been affected by delays this morning.

Commuters hit by delays

Broken-down trains and signalling problems, including one near Manchester affecting routes between that city and Leeds, have caused morning rush-hour chaos which also affected those travelling to busy airports for the Easter holidays.

In northern England, trains run by First TransPennine Express between Manchester Airport and Leeds were among those delayed by a signalling problem near Manchester.

Northern Rail was also affected, with delays between Manchester Piccadilly station and Leeds.

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