Virgin Trains has operated on the UK West Coast Main Line since 1997. The service connects six of the UK's largest cities; London, Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, Glasgow and Edinburgh. In terms of population served, the West Coast Main Line is Britain’s most important rail backbone.
Virgin Trains wanted to establish a long-term partnership for a high-speed and reliable WiFi service to provide an enhanced passenger experience. The main challenge was to provide a service for all on-board passengers to use across the entire line whilst travelling at up to 125mph, through areas where cellular service can’t be assured.
Nomad possessed the knowledge, experience and innovative solutions required in order to become Virgin Train’s trusted partner to provide fast and dependable WiFi. Nomad also offered added benefits through additional solutions and applications.
Nomad provided a unique solution with pioneering 3G and purpose built WiMAX coverage switching technology in order to overcome the challenge of trains travelling up to 125mph through remote geographic areas. This solution automatically switches between the best available signals without timing out sessions, therefore delivering a consistent connection for passengers. WiFi was also installed in Virgin’s First Class Passenger Lounges.
Nomad provides a bespoke landing page in conjunction with T-Mobile and Virgin Trains. This provides passenger support as well as route and travel information for passengers.
Additionally, Nomad provides Virgin with some outstanding additional services. Nomad’s service desk department provides 24-hour continuous operational support to Virgin Trains to deal with any potential issues with the networks. Furthermore, Nomad also runs analysis, updates and configuration on the equipment installed on to the trains. Finally, Virgin Trains are also able to log in to Nomad’s Fleet Manager solution in order to track the location of their entire fleet currently in service.
Nomad installed their solution on 52 Class 390 Pendolino trains and 21 Class 220 and 221 Voyager trains, as well as Virgin’s First Class Lounges.
Virgin Trains is now able to provide a reliable and high-speed passenger WiFi service on the West Coast Main Line. This is free of charge for first-class passengers and pay as you go in standard class, with different options to suit every need. Passengers are also able to connect to WiFi in the first-class lounges before travelling. Through the landing page, passengers can also get support and access to travel information on their devices. Virgin are also able to access support 24 hours a day with Nomad’s service desk tackling any potential issues. Additionally, Nomad runs analysis and updates on equipment and Virgin uses Nomad’s Fleet Manager to track the location of their entire fleet on a live map, monitor the health of equipment on board and extract data for trend reporting.
As the world’s leader in providing wireless connectivity solutions to the rail industry, Nomad is able to offer not only connectivity, but a fully scalable solution. This provides the basis for Virgin Trains to take advantage of more passenger service and operational applications to be installed in the future providing clear passenger service benefits, reduced operational costs and safer working conditions.
Nomad demonstrated an outstanding collaborative approach alongside T-Mobile and Virgin Trains in order to maximise synergies and drive revenues for both WiFi and further applications.
In Autumn 2015, Virgin achieved an impressive 91% overall satisfaction rating in The National Rail Passenger Survey.