AN INCREASE in passengers using Virgin Voyager Trains between London and Chester has led to a 150,000 visitor increase and £17m shot in the arm for the Cheshire economy.
Figures released by Visit Chester and Cheshire at a press conference held jointly with Virgin Trains management and the Queen Hotel showed the city of Chester had been given a massive public transport boost.
Chris Brown, chief executive of VCC, who secured an agreement with Virgin Trains four years ago, hailed the partnership a success.
He said: “A fast and effective transport service sends a compelling message for anyone wanting to come to Chester. It is the tip of the iceberg in terms of the opportunities available and shows the huge economic and visitor impact that good transport has on a destination.
“We are getting record numbers into the city.”
Chris Gibb, chief operating officer of Virgin Trains, said the company was chomping at the bit to invest in and maintain improved car parking around the station and work with Network Rail and Arriva Trains Wales to improve the network and image of Chester’s Station.
Mr Gibb said: “I’m delighted and surprised by how quickly the relationship with VCC has borne fruit.
“Chester has established itself as one of the main destinations on the West Coast main line.
Chester is now the railhead for a significant portion of North Wales as well as Cheshire and has topped Manchester and Liverpool in terms of year-on-year passenger increase.