On 31 October 2007, I accidentally became a kind of train spotter. Could you ride on all 52 Virgin Pendolinos in service just by doing what I was doing and travelling to London and back once a week or so? No making special trips out, no waiting for the next train because you've already been on that one, just turning up as usual and hopping on.
The answer, my friends, is Yes, you can!. Yesterday evening, as I walked down the ramp towards platform two at London Euston, I looked across at the train number to see 390-016. I felt a touch giddy - euphoric even. There was the nameplate on carriage G, although I knew what it would be - Virgin Champion. Virgin Champion - could there be a more suitable train? *
My quest, my foolish, foolish quest, is over!
At least it is until the four new sets come into service next year. And then they'll be upgrading existing trains to eleven carriages instead of nine ...
* Actually yes, there's 390-053 Mission Accomplished but I rode that on the 8th of May 2008.