UK-based Virgin Trains has unveiled plans to expand its services between Edinburgh and London in May.

The expansion plans include the addition of 42 new Edinburgh-London services a week, including eight new services a weekday.

UK Rail minister Claire Perry said: "This is welcome news for passengers travelling between Edinburgh and London and demonstrates that Virgin Trains are delivering on their commitment to bring extra services and seats to this important route.

"The UK Government knows how important the railways are to keeping Britain connected, which is why we are investing over £38bn on the network in this parliament. The increase to Scottish services is evidence that this franchise is delivering real improvements for passengers."

"The increase to Scottish services is evidence that this franchise is delivering real improvements for passengers."

In addition, the company has extended the booking period from 12 to 24 weeks, as well as increased the weekly seating capacity on the route by 32%.

Scottish Government Transport and Islands minister Derek Mackay said: "This increased frequency of cross-border Virgin services between Edinburgh and London is good news, giving passengers more choice of services and helping to spread the pressure on existing services.

"I welcome these enhanced timetables, the greater connectivity they offer between Scotland and the south-east of England and the benefits that they will bring to the rail passenger experience and economies of locations along the route."

Earlier this year, the company unveiled the first of its newly renovated trains as part of its £40m refurbishment programme aimed at giving a makeover to all of Virgin’s trains on its East Coast route with stylish new interiors, bringing added customer comfort.

A total of £21m has been allocated to complete the refurbishment of the trains’ interiors, including adding luxurious leather seats to First Class, new carpets and fittings throughout.

As part of the refurbishment programme, an additional £16m is being invested on new diesel engines and re-branding the external livery for the new trains currently being built in the UK by Hitachi.

The company noted that the programme has been brought in ahead of the arrival of its new fleet in 2018.

Image: Virgin Trains will expand the services and increase the seating capacity by 22,000 a week between Edinburgh and London. Photo: © East Coast Main Line Company 2016.