Having an insatiable curiosity for the world around you is an essential skill as an entrepreneur. This fascination comes easily to children who are still learning and find all kinds of things interesting.
So it was great to receive a letter from a young train enthusiast called Adam who has lots of questions for me about Virgin Trains and much else besides. I thought I would have a go at answering them:
1. How much is an 11-car Pendolino?
Our longest fleet cost £11m with each coach costing £1m each.
2. What inspired you to make Virgin Trains?
We wanted to start Virgin Trains because we thought there has to be a better way of doing things for customers. Train services were very outdated and there was a real opportunity to disrupt the market and make things better for passengers. I wanted a train company that radically changed the way people viewed and used the train. We set ambitious goals to speed up journey times with modern tilting trains, increase the frequency of the service and improve the on-board experience.
3. How did you get out of losing the franchise?
There was a great campaign created and supported by our passengers and staff, who did not want to see us no longer running services along the West Coast. We couldn’t thank them enough for their love and support.
4. How many Pendolinos are there?
There are 56 Pendolino trains.
5. Why is it called Virgin?
This is probably a question for your parents…The name “Virgin” was the result of a team effort. We were thinking about naming our records business “Slipped Disc” until a young woman jokingly pointed out we were all virgins at business as it was something we hadn’t done before.
I hope I’ve answered your questions Adam, and I love your drawing of a train too. Keep up your creativity.
It’s always heartwarming to see a child who is engaged in a subject and it’s important to always be learning, no matter your age.
The future belongs to the curious – don’t be afraid to ask questions and see where your curiosity takes you.