BUSINESS leaders in Kendal have welcomed a move by Virgin Trains to discount fares to flood-hit areas for three months, starting next week.

The train company has teamed up with VisitEngland to boost tourism and support the message that Cumbria is 'open for business'.

The exclusive discount of 30 per cent off Advance fares to areas affected by recent flooding starts on Tuesday, February 9.


Virgin Trains, which operates passenger services on the West Coast Main Line, aims to increase visitor numbers following the damage caused by storms Desmond, Eva and Frank in December 2015. The offer is timed to coincide with the February half-term holiday and Easter break in March.

The offer follows an initiative by Kendal BID (Business Improvement District) to encourage visitors from London to travel to Kendal by train. The BID team began their promotion during the Christmas period, with a specially designed bottle of Lakeland water that showed the short journey from London Euston to Kendal via Oxenholme.

The campaign was followed up by a number of London-based broadcasters including Chris Evans, who talked to Kendal BID manager Sarah Williams on his Radio 2 show.

"We are delighted that Virgin Trains have come up with this offer, which will make travelling to Kendal even more attractive," said Sarah. "Kendal is just a couple of minutes on the branch line from Oxenholme, so barely three hours from London."

Discounted fares can be purchased on direct Virgin Trains services to destinations including Oxenholme, Carlisle and Penrith on the West Coast route.

Virgin Trains managing director Phil Whittingham said: "We’re pleased to support VisitEngland’s campaign; we want to demonstrate that the regions affected by the storms are very much open for business. We hope people make the most of these great offers and show their support for the region.”