Virgin Trains said goodbye to its passengers, making their last trip after 22 years and nearly 500 million trips.
Britain's longest-running rail franchise, which began serving the West Coast Main Line in March 1997, operated its final service on Saturday night.
After the last trip, at 9:42 pm from London Euston to Wolverhampton, Virgin Trains tweeted to thank the passengers for traveling.
We are not crying. You are crying
– Virgin Trains (@VirginTrains) December 7, 2019
The end of Virgin Trains, which is owned by Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Group and Stagecoach, comes after his attempt to continue operating trains on the line was disqualified by the Department of Transportation in a retirement tier.
Its routes have now been taken over by Avanti West Coast, which has promised to offer a number of improvements to passengers, including new trains and 263 weekly services by 2022.
The existing Pendolino train fleet will be refurbished, the new operator said.
Customers are promising simpler fares and tickets, 25,000 new seats, better station waiting rooms, new routes, more reliable Wi-Fi, and improved catering.
Passengers may also apply for a 15-minute delay compensation, compared to the previous 30-minute criteria.
The new operator's parent company is a partnership between Aberdeen-based transport company FirstGroup and Italian company Trenitalia.
Currently collecting all our personal belongings
– Virgin Trains (@VirginTrains) 4 December 2019
Avanti West Coast now takes Virgin lines
In addition to performing core services, the initial HS2 services should be operated, although the high-speed rail project is still in doubt.
First Rail operates three other UK rail franchises – Great Western Railway, South Western Railway and TransPennine Express – while Trenitalia also operates trains on the c2c line between East London and Shoeburyness in Essex.