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Great Exhibition of the North announces partnership with Virgin Trains

Virgin Trains has been unveiled as a premier partner of next year’s Great Exhibition of the North, which takes place in NewcastleGateshead from 22 July – 09 September 2018.

The rail operator is the first major sponsor to be announced for the Government-backed Exhibition celebrating art and culture, design and innovation from across the North of England.

Virgin Trains is planning to launch the first of its new state-of-the-art fleet of Virgin Azuma trains into service in the year of the Great Exhibition of the North. The fleet of 65 Virgin Azuma trains will transform train travel along Virgin’s east coast route, which connects Scotland and the North with the capital, by providing more services, and faster and more comfortable journeys.

Sir Gary Verity, Chair of the Great Exhibition of the North Project Board, said: “As one of the UK’s biggest travel brands, we’re delighted to welcome Virgin Trains onboard as premier partners of Great Exhibition of the North.

“2018 will see Virgin Trains transform rail travel for millions of people with the introduction of its new, innovative, Virgin Azuma trains; manufactured right here in the North by Hitachi.

“Visitors to Great Exhibition of the North will be able to see first-hand the North’s role in revolutionising rail travel. From the birth of the railways and Stephenson’s Rocket, which will be on display at The Discovery Museum in Newcastle, right to the present day with the arrival of Virgin Train’s Azuma fleet on the East Coast Main Line.”

David Horne, Managing Director of Virgin Trains on its east coast route, said: “We’re delighted to sponsor this exciting and important exhibition. Our new Virgin Azuma trains are being built in the North East, and the exhibition itself celebrates design and innovation in the North.

“We’re pleased to back the region’s strengths in innovation and enterprise, and look forward to our new fleet transforming train travel, and significantly improving this region’s connectivity with other parts of the UK.”

Karen Bradley, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, said: “I am delighted to welcome Virgin Trains as a premier partner to the Great Exhibition of the North 2018.

“Its new Azuma fleet will be rolled out on the East Coast route next year, transforming travel for passengers, and supporting tourism between London, the North East and Scotland. It is great news that Virgin Trains shares our vision and will be part of this unique celebration of Northern art, design and innovation.”

Northern Powerhouse Minister Jake Berry, said: “I am extremely pleased that Virgin Trains East Coast are to be a premier partner for the Great Exhibition of the North 2018. They are a first-class example of a northern investor and employer with their new Azuma trains built by Hitachi’s factory in County Durham.

“Cultural projects like the Exhibition are at the heart of the Northern Powerhouse and I’m looking forward to the celebration of all things northern in NewcastleGateshead next year.”

The Great Exhibition of the North 2018 is a summer of amazing exhibits, inspired technology, vibrant street performance, cutting edge culture and magical experiences, all celebrating the great art and culture, design and innovation born out of the North of England.

Taking place in NewcastleGateshead from 22 June to 09 September 2018, Great Exhibition of the North is set to be the biggest event in England next year. Telling the dynamic story of the North – how its innovators, artists and designers shape our present and are inspiring our future – three million people are expected to interact with Great Exhibition of the North.

Major exhibition hubs at Great North Museum: Hancock and on Gateshead Quays (BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art and Sage Gateshead) will feed three walking routes telling the dynamic story of the North; the ‘Seeing in Wonder’ art route, ‘Thinking in Style’ design route and ‘Dreaming in WOW’ innovation route.

NewcastleGateshead’s world-class venues and unique outdoor spaces will showcase exciting ideas from across the North.

This once in a lifetime, must-see event is free and family friendly. Opening with the spectacular ‘Get North’ weekend on the 22nd June, it finishes in style with the world-famous Great North Run and the powerful ‘Creating the Future’ closing weekend.

A video of Karen Bradley and David Horne speaking about the announcement is available to view, here: https://youtu.be/eYqy_Btst1w

For more information visit www.getnorth2018.com

By Emily