UK’s Virgin Trains has announced plans to launch an hourly open-access train service between Liverpool and London from May 2021.

The rail operator has already submitted an application with the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) seeking permission to launch the service.

Virgin Trains plans to run 24 services a day between London Euston and Liverpool Lime Street. The service will provide intermediate stops at Lichfield, Tamworth, Nuneaton and Liverpool South Parkway.

Tickets for this service will be at least 10% cheaper compared to equivalent services offered by other operators.

Virgin Trains will also provide seat reservations. In case of disruptions or higher passenger demand, customers who don’t receive a seat will be entitled to a complete refund.

Additionally, passengers will receive automatic compensation for any delay in the service.

The Liverpool-London train service will offer commuters free Wi-Fi, free entertainment on board and a catering service.

Virgin Trains MD Phil Whittingham said: “We’ve delivered faster and more frequent services, pioneered digital ticketing and shaken up the industry with initiatives such as scrapping the Friday evening peak. That’s why we top the independent customer satisfaction charts for long-distance franchises.

“But we want to go further. These new services will allow us to take the customer experience on the UK’s railways to the next level and show the rest of the industry how it can be done.”

Virgin plans to provide the service in collaboration with Stagecoach, SNCF and Alstom. It will be separate to its current West Coast operation and is expected to generate around £50m of revenue annually.