BEAM me up: the new Virgin Trains entertainment system offers 200 hours of free content
Sir Richard Branson ‘s Virgin Trains has introduced its revolutionary on-board BEAM portal, which will allow complimentary streaming of movies and TV straight to travellers’ tablets and smartphones without the need for wi-fi. Millions of rail passengers are today joining the Golden Age of Stream as Britain’s most advanced and FREE on-board train entertainment system goes live.
The ground-breaking system runs – via an Apple or Android app on the passenger’s device – from a central server on the West Coast Main Line Pendolino trains, and tens of millions of passengers annually in Standard and First classes will get around 200 hours of viewing to choose from.
Launch content will include House of Cards, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Poldark , The Wolf of Wall Street, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Bridesmaids, Frozen , and Despicable Me 2 – plus magazines, games and a separate section for children with the likes of Peppa Pig, Ben 10 and Horrible Histories.
The bespoke Virgin BEAM app needs to be installed from the Apple store or Google Play before the journey, and if the destination arrives before the end of a film or TV show it will remember where it left off, allowing passengers to finish it on the return journey.
A Virgin Trains spokesman said: “We’ve worked really hard to provide a fantastic range of entertainment to cater to all of our customers’ tastes and are really proud to offer this service that is the first of its kind to the train industry.
”We’ve worked really hard to provide a fantastic range of entertainment to cater to all of our customers’ tastes and are really proud to offer this service that is the first of its kind to the train industry.”
Pendolino show: travellers on the West Coast Main line are getting a range of free viewing
He added that the new service is more advanced than the in flight entertainment systems typically available on planes, as customers use their own devices which normally have larger screens with better picture quality than standard seat-back devices.
BEAM is available now on all 56 Pendolino expresses on the West Coast lines between London, the North-West including Manchester and Liverpool, and Scotland.
It will be rolled out across the 20 Voyager units operating between London, Birmingham and Scotland, and to Chester and North Wales, by September.
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And the first of Virgin Trains’ 45 East Coast locos running between London, York, Newcastle and Scotland will start to be equipped from today, though with slightly different content from the West Coast.
To celebrate the launch, Virgin Trains has partnered with upcoming Hollywood blockbuster Independence Day: Resurgence – the sequel to the 90s smash Independence Day – to decorate two Pendolino carriages with images of the lead characters played in the movie by Hollywood A-listers Liam Hemsworth and Jeff Goldblum .
Around 34.5 million passengers travelled on the West Coast lines last year, annual figures for the East Coast routes which Virgin took over in March 2015 are not yet available. The firm declined to disclose the cost of the new BEAM system.
MIRROR TRAVEL COMMENT
Once again Sir Richard Branson shows he completely gets it when comes to delivering what his customers want.
Giving train passengers great free content that doesn’t require expensive on-board wi-fi connections, or chews up your data allowance, is a brilliant innovation and leads the way for the UK rail network.