DIRECT CHOICE: Virgin Trains

Goodwill toward rail operators is in short supply and, like consumer confidence, is in a continual state of decline.

It is refreshing, then, to see one operator, Virgin Trains (which has had more brickbats than most lobbed its way), trying to redeem itself with this surprisingly professional and slick piece of DM that announces the launch of 78 new trains and an upgraded timetable. The whole is in the style of a photo album for a new-born baby.

Beautifully put together throughout, no expense has been spared in trying to portray a rail operator that is doing its damnedest to create a favourable impression with its customers.

Even more unusual for a train company is the thought and clarity that has gone into the communication - local journey details, maps and helpline numbers are all included.

This DM pack deserves to help the company succeed, of course, but astute observers will notice that though the train launch occurred in late September, the DM pack was mailed some considerable time later. Old habits die hard.

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