Could you design Virgin’s Christmas Train?


Virgin Trains has announced it has partnered with the children’s reading charity, Book Trust, to launch a nationwide search for a Christmas Train design. Primary school age children across Great Britain are being challenged to send in their most festive drawings and win the chance to see their design transform a Pendolino and an InterCity 225 this December. The drawings will be judged by a panel headed up by renowned illustrator and author, Jill Murphy, author of The Worst Witch, and whose most famous book, Five Minutes Peace, is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year.

The challenge has been inspired by Virgin Trains’ ‘Traindeer’, which last year carried over 65 thousand customers during the Christmas period, and was seen by thousands more when it became a social media hit. The Traindeer was based on a Christmas card by sisters, aged nine and 11. As a result of the Traindeer’s success, this year’s Christmas Train will be seen right across the country with the winning design appearing on both Virgin Trains franchises on the east and west coasts.

Virgin Trains is asking all primary school age children to enter their festive drawings, sketches or paintings, which can be anything from favourite characters, such as Father Christmas, reindeer and elves, through to merry family scenes, sleighs or even snowy landscapes. One winning drawing will be chosen to give two trains the special festive makeover, which will travel on both the West Coast and East Coast networks during December.

Jill Murphy has been brought on board to head up the judging panel, joining Book Trust Chief Executive Diana Gerald, and Virgin Trains. Jill Murphy said:

“I’m really looking forward to seeing all the entries for this exciting competition – I wish I was still at school so I could enter it myself! Just imagine your own design being used to give an actual train a Christmas makeover! I’m delighted that Virgin Trains asked me to be the judge and I promise to look carefully at every single entry; so grab your pens, pencils or paints and get started!”

The competition is open to primary age school children aged five to 11. To enter, parents simply email a photograph or scan of the drawing by clicking the “Email my entry” button on, alongside their child’s name, age and region. A shortlist will be announced week commencing October 26 and the winning design will be unveiled on December 1.