Denny’s Super Bowl free ‘Grand Slam Breakfast’ brings 2 million diners

Friday, February 6, 2009

Denny’s 1,600 chain restaurants across North America, Puerto Rico and Canada, were slammed for eight hours Tuesday with hungry patrons standing on sidewalks for nearly two hours to take advantage of the $5.99 “Grand Slam Breakfast” giveaway.

Denny’s, a dining chain with annual revenue of about $900 million, has advertised in a TV commercial Sunday during the Super Bowl XLIII that it would give away its signature breakfast from 6 a.m. until 2 p.m. local time Tuesday, at all its restaurants in the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico, while supplies lasted.

Denny’s Diner has promoted the iconic dish giveaway heavily, with a bold 30-second appeal ad that aired during the third quarter of the Super Bowl 43 on Sunday, plus another 15-second ad during the post-game show, offering a free breakfast to some 90 million viewers. In addition, it has placed a full-page ad in USA Today‘s Monday edition. The promotion was further announced on The Today Show and notices were also sent out to the chain’s “Denny’s Breakfast Club” members.

The NBC ad, which was bought to unveil a new promotion for customers squeezed by the recession, may have cost as much as $3 million, said Nelson Marchioli, CEO of Denny’s Corp. Super Bowl XLIII’s 30-second commercial time slot costs $2.4 million–$3 million for the airtime alone, excluding production and talent costs.

The game was televised live by the US NBC Sunday Night Football and Canada’s CTV Television Network. BayTSP has reported that, “as of 10 a.m. Wednesday, commercials that initially aired during NBC’s Super Bowl XLIII broadcast subsequently had been watched online more than 28 million times.”

“The promotion has a total cost of $5 million U.S., which includes $3 million for the commercial on NBC,” said a Denny’s spokesman, noting also that the company received about $50 million in news coverage, most of which was positive. According to a Denny’s representative, two million people walked through the restaurant chains’ doors Tuesday, and each Denny’s restaurant served an average of 130 Grand Slams per hour.

With the “Denny’s Feeds America” promotion, the company has reported 14 million hits on its Web site between Sunday night and Monday morning. Denny’s shares rose 6 cents, or 3.1 percent, to $1.98 in afternoon trading. The stock has traded in a range of $1.18 to $4.10 over the past 52 weeks.

“Denny’s free Grand Slam” has ranked in the top 10 Google searches early Tuesday and fell to No. 18 by the end of the promotion, while “denny s locations” was #9 on Google Trends, which tracks fast-rising searches. It has also held spots No. 1 (Denny’s) and 7 (Grand Slam) on Twitter‘s trending topics. It has generated much chat on Twitter, garnering 1,700 tweets on Tuesday, compared with its average of 59. Doritos, winner of the USA TODAY survey for best Super Bowl spot ad, had 933 mentions after reaching a peak of almost 3,300.

The idea of the TV ad was to get people to come in and re-evaluate Denny’s Diner. “A lot of people have forgotten what Denny’s is, or they think they know, while we’ve come out with a whole lot of new products. We felt like we needed to jump start the brand,” Denny’s Chief Marketing and Innovation Officer Mark Chmiel said.

“We’re celebrating the Grand Slam this year,” Chmiel said. According to the company’s financial data, on January 15 Denny’s reported systemwide comparable-store sales for the fourth quarter were down 6.1 percent, compared to a 0.2 percent decline from the same period in 2007.

According to Robert Gonzalez, public relations company Hill & Knowlton spokesman, Denny’s has expected at least 2 million people to eat a free Grand Slam by the end of the promotion. “Every restaurant is packed with people and lines,” Gonzalez said. “Everything today is about fast. People are on the go, and they’re eating fast food. It’s cutting into sit-down dining,” he added.

“Each of the more than 1,500 Denny’s were planning to make about 100 Grand Slams an hour,” Denny’s spokeswoman Cori Rice said. It had predicted it will have served about 1,400 people per location, more than five times the normal volume. “Grand Slam Breakfast” is a four-item option on its menu, consisting of two pancakes, two eggs, two strips of bacon and two sausage links. It weighs in at 44 grams of fat, 56 carbohydrates and 770 calories.

Nationwide, Denny’s expected to sell about 2 million Grand Slams — about 15 percent of the annual tally. According to Mark Chmiel, chief marketing operator and executive vice president, the diner chain has reported approximately 2 million meals worth more than $12 million were given away nationwide and each Denny’s restaurant served an average of 130 Grand Slams per hour. It estimated it has earned about $50 million worth of public relations following the free Grand Slam campaign, Chmiel said.

The company is also experimenting with a Grand Slam Burrito and also has introduced for this year, a Grand Slamwich, which includes eggs, bacon, sausage and cheese between two slices of bread, with a teaspoon serving. “It already has shown strong consumer appeal,” said Chmiel. The company has received flood of e-mails and letters proving the positive impact of the Grand Slam campaign and commercials on its customers.

Chmiel also announced he’s planning a third major promotion in this year’s third quarter, which happens to include another major sporting event, the World Series. “That’s one we’re definitely looking at,” he said.

Jobless Paris Winslow of downtown San Francisco, California has joined the long line which stretched from the front door on Mission Street, between Fourth and Fifth streets, to the corner of Fourth and up the block. “The economy is getting kind of scary. This line looks like those pictures of soup kitchen lines during the 1929 Great Depression,” Winslow said.

“I came all the way from San Francisco for a free $6 meal, Isn’t that pathetic? A year ago, I never would have done this. These days I’m willing to put my ego on the back burner,” said Stephen Weller, a jobless contractor who waited with his dog, Emmett. California Denny’s restaurant managers have issued rain checks (for free chilled meals, as security backed by actual bacon) to anyone who failed to get in by the 2 p.m. deadline.

A big eater could also “Slam It Up” by adding any two additional items for 99 cents each to their meal. Customers on Tuesday were also handed “bounceback” coupon books that include offers for additional free menu items with purchases. Chicago Tribune reporter Kevin Pang has eaten five free Grand Slams on Tuesday at five different Denny’s Diners in four hours. He claims to have consumed 4,100 calories at Harwood Heights, 5:36 a.m, at Schiller Park, 6:22 a.m., at Franklin Park, 7:08 a.m., at Melrose Park, 7:41 a.m. and at Grand Slam No. 5 Oak Park, 8:57 a.m.

“The Grand Slam has always been a Denny’s favorite. This free offer is our way of reacquainting America with Denny’s real breakfast and with the Denny’s brand,” Denny’s CEO Nelson Marchioli said in a statement. In 1977s, the Grand Slam started as a baseball-related promotion in Atlanta, Georgia. Its normal price averages around $5.99. Marchioli said the event was also a way to kick-off its “Year of the Grand Slam” promotion. Denny’s claimed it has sold 12.5 million Grand Slams a year.

“The economy’s tough and people are jumping all the way to fast food to try to figure it out. We all use fast food, whether it’s for time or convenience or for money. But you can go to Denny’s and you don’t have to give up a real breakfast and that was the whole focus of our commercial,” Marchioli explained. McDonald’s (MCD, Fortune 500) has done well during this economic meltdown since the global recession pushes people toward less expensive dining options.

McDonald’s has announced plans Wednesday to open 175 new restaurants in China this year despite the global economic crisis, thereby increasing the number of outlets in China by 17 percent, from 1,050 currently. Last month, McDonald’s 2008 net profit has risen 80 percent from 2007 to 4.3 billion dollars.

Marchioli has also introduced Denny’s $4 Weekday Express Slam, which is a streamlined version of the Grand Slam. “I want to take back share. For too long, we have allowed others to take share, whether it was Starbucks or McDonald’s. They’re fine competitors and I don’t expect to take all their business from them, but I’d like a little bit back,” Marchioli noted.

According to Rafi Mohammed, author of “The Art of Pricing,” people love free. “It triggers a Pavlovian response in people,” said Mohammed. If Pavlov’s dogs salivate when a bell rings, Denny’s free Grand Slam breakfast has attracted 2 million hungry customers. “I believe free maximizes trial and doesn’t devalue a product as long as it is a rare event. Aside from the cost, the major downside is that it attracts customers who truly have no intention of coming back,” he added.

According to University of Portland consumer psychology professor Deana Julka, people flock to free promotions amid just a few dollars saving because there’s nothing in life for free. “So when there’s something out there that costs nothing, it creates a psychological rush. Especially in these times when people feel overtaxed or overburden, there’s an internal reward people feel by getting something for free,” she said. “It’s being thrifty and feeling like you beat the system. Free really hits the spot for a lot of people,” Julka added.

“Free is an emotional hot button. When free is concerned, there is no downside – or, at least, we don’t see the downside immediately. So we overvalue everything that is free. People love free stuff, particularly when money’s tight,” said Dan Ariely, a business professor at Duke University, author of “Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions.”

Experts, however, explained these moves need to be done sparingly, since giveaways can teeter in the balance between desperation and a well designed marketing ploy. “Giving your product away for free is not worth it because it undermines your brand value,” said branding expert Rob Frankel, saying people are attached to the idea of it being free, than the actual product itself.

Free giveaways are not anything new in the food industry. “It just feels good when you can get something for free and not have to worry about it coming out of your wallet,” Frankel noted. Dunkin’ Donuts and Panera Bread all have had free coffee and food promos last year. “In November, Starbucks gave away free cup of coffee to anyone who came in on Election Day. Have you taken a look at how Starbucks is doing now?” Last week it has announced it would shut down 300 stores, in addition to the 600 it already planned to close.

On February 24, IHOP will be offering a free shortstack to every customer to encourage donations (in place of the cost) for Childrens Miracle Network. The International House of Pancakes (IHOP) is a United States-based restaurant chain that specializes in breakfast foods and is owned by DineEquity. The chain had more than 1950 restaurants in all 50 states, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Canada and Mexico. Since 2006, IHOP’s National Pancake Day celebration has raised over $1.85 million. In 2008, over 1.5 million pancakes (12 miles high if they were stacked) were given to customers for donations.

Denny’s (“Denny’s Diner”) is a full-service diner/family restaurant chain in the United States. It operates over 2,500 restaurants in the United States (including Puerto Rico), Canada, Curaçao, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Jamaica, Japan, Mexico, and New Zealand). The resto chain is known for always being open, serving breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert around the clock.

Today, Denny’s operates about 1,600 restaurants in all 50 U.S. states, Canada and Mexico. There are also about 578 Denny’s restaurants in Japan operated under a license by a subsidiary of Seven & I Holdings, seven Denny’s locations in New Zealand, and approximately 38 Denny’s diners in the United States. Denny’s headquarters is now located in Spartanburg, South Carolina, headquarters of the parent company Trans World Corporation that acquired Denny’s in 1987.

Denny’s was historically notable for offering a free meal to anyone on their birthday. The offer included a limited number of meal options from a special birthday menu. The promotional ritual ceased in 1993, though occasionally individual franchises will continue the tradition.

In 2008, Denny’s has ceased to be in the ranks among the top diner chains in the $83 billion breakfast market, whose top five firms — McDonald’s, Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts, Burger King and IHOP — accounted for 22 percent of the volume. “A lot of consumers have written Denny’s off their let’s-go-there list,” said Ron Paul, president of Technomic, a consulting firm.

Super Bowl XLIII was an American football game between the American Football Conference champion Pittsburgh Steelers (15–4) and the National Football Conference champion Arizona Cardinals (12–8) to decide the National Football League (NFL) champion for the 2008 NFL season. It was played on February 1, 2009, at Raymond James Stadiumin Tampa, Florida. It has an attendance of 70,774 and 98.7 million viewers. Pittsburgh earned its sixth Super Bowl win, thus securing sole possession of the record for most Super Bowl wins.

News briefs:August 02, 2010

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Investigation into Washington, D.C. Metro crash finds need for new safety rules

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

An investigation into the fatal 2009 Washington Metro train collision conducted by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) called for new safety and maintenance rules. The report, released today, blamed the crash on the faulty automatic train-control system. The report also cited the use of dated 1000-Series train cars. The 2009 crash, which killed 9 and injured 80, occurred during the evening rush between the Takoma and Fort Totten stations on the Red Line.

NTSB Chairman Deborah Hersman said that the system is currently regulated by state and local agencies. She called for Federal oversight. “Now it’s really time for them to step up to the plate and for Congress to address the issue,” Hersman said during the release of the findings.

In 2009, Hersman told Congress that Federal safety guidelines should be set saying “the state oversight system is not effective, they don’t have any teeth.” Currently the Federal government has control of interstate transit systems, not regional or local transit systems.

The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) said yesterday that it would replace all of it’s 1000-Series trains with newer models. After the crash, then WMATA general manager, John Catoe said that “the system is safe.” WMATA’s interim general manager Richard Sarles said that “We are committed to considering and following through on the findings and recommendations.”

Blown for Good author discusses life inside international headquarters of Scientology

Friday, November 13, 2009

Wikinews interviewed author Marc Headley about his new book Blown for Good, and asked him about life inside the international headquarters of Scientology known as “Gold Base“, located in Gilman Hot Springs near Hemet, California. Headley joined the organization at age seven when his mother became a member, and worked at Scientology’s international management headquarters for several years before leaving in 2005.

Obama’s Inaugural Celebration “We are One” attracts 400,000

Sunday, January 18, 2009

At 2 P.M. on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C., approximately 400,000 people attended H.B.O.’s presentation of Barack Obama’s inaugural kick off concert called “We are One“. The concert featured many musicians including Beyonce, Stevie Wonder and U2. The show featured other high profile celebrities in between performances reading and reflecting on the significance of Barack’s Inauguration on the 20th. Near the end, President-Elect Barack Obama went on the steps and gave a speech.Throughout most of the songs, several different large choirs provided back up vocals and harmony, as well as a full orchestra below the stage. The bald Eagle, the national bird of the United States was displayed several times and allowed to fly within its trainers arm range as a symbol of patriotism and pride. The entire event is expected to be funded with donations gathered by Obama’s inaugural committee.On January 19, Michelle Obama and Jill Biden hosted the “Kids’ Inaugural: We Are the Future” concert at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. Musical performers include Disney television and pop stars Miley Cyrus and the Jonas Brothers. The show was broadcast live on Disney Channel and on Radio Disney.

Directly in front of us is a pool that still reflects the dream of a King, and the glory of a people who marched and bled so that their children might be judged by their character’s content.
Inauguration Lineup
Performer(s) Act
Master Sergeant Caleb B. Green III The Star-Spangled Banner
Denzel Washington Homage to the leaders given Monuments or Memorials
Bruce Springsteen The Rising” by Bruce Springsteen
Laura Linney and Martin Luther King III F.D.R and John F. Kennedy
Mary J. Blige Lean on Me” by Bill Withers
Jamie Foxx and Steve Carell Referencing Thomas Jefferson, Thurgood Marshall and Robert Kennedy
Bettye LaVette and Jon Bon Jovi A Change Is Gonna Come” by Sam Cooke
Tom Hanks Tribute to Abraham Lincoln
Marisa Tomei Quoting Ronald Reagan
James Taylor, John Legend and Jennifer Nettles Shower the People” by James Taylor
Joe Biden Speech
John Mellencamp Pink Houses” by John Mellencamp
Queen Latifah Referencing Marian Anderson
Josh Groban and Heather Headley My Country, ‘Tis of Thee
Kal Pen and George Lopez Quotes Dwight Eisenhower and Barbara Jordan
Herbie Hancock, will.i.am and Sheryl Crow One Love” by Bob Marley
Tiger Woods Dedicating the Armed Forces
Renee Fleming You’ll Never Walk Alone
Jack Black and Rosario Dawson Tribute to Theodore Roosevelt
Garth Brooks American Pie” by Don McLean
Ashley Judd and Forest Whitaker Referencing John F. Kennedy and William Faulkner
Usher, Stevie Wonder and Shakira Higher Ground” by Stevie Wonder
Samuel L. Jackson Referencing Abraham Lincoln, Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr.
U2 Pride (in the Name of Love)” and “City of Blinding Lights” by U2
Barack Obama Speech: Voices Calling for Change
Pete Seeger and Bruce Springsteen This Land is your Land” by Woody Guthrie
Beyonce America the Beautiful

Best Wood Floor Sanding In Blackrock}

Best wood floor sanding in Blackrock

by

William Rogers

If you’re looking for a new floor in your house, you’ve maybe considered wooden materials.

You’d find it difficult to finda home owner who doesn’t like hardwood floors. To be honest laminate is out, and hardwood surfaces are in. But are wooden surfaces worth the price? On average the price is around €80-€130 per square metre(fitted), hardwood flooring is quite a bit more costly than installing carpet which is being fitted in more apartments.

If you’re on the fence as to whether to install wooden floors the list should be able assist you. The list will demonstrate the advantages of wooden floors:

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1. Longevity

Thanks to durable finishes that are quite simple to fix, wood surfaces could stay perfect for over 100. To be honest there are not a lot of flooring materials that have been around as long as wood.

2. Cosiness and Warmth

Wooden surfaces are naturally cosy0. Wood is an excellent insulator. This is due to wooden floors contain thousands of tiny air chambers per cubic inch, which retain the heat.

3. Allergies?

Prone to allergies? Different from carpets, wooden floors don not allow mould, dust or pollen and other substances any any area to live and thrive. Even though you deep clean carpets, it’s nearly impossible to get them fully clean. Wooden surfaces are an fantastic choice for families with any type of ambient allergies.

4. Easy to clean

All that is needed is a little sweeping or mopping, and the wooden surfaces will keep looking shiny for a long time

5. Raise home price

Carpet will appear used in just a few years. Another consideration wooden floors will last longer. This can assist in keeping the vale of your property.

Of course we have not even discussed the visual enjoyment that is gotfrom a beautiful wooden floor. Nothing can beat entering a house and seeing a beautiful hardwood floor that has been restored or sanded to it’s new state.

These are some of the benefits of sanded hardwood floors.

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Article Source:

Best wood floor sanding in Blackrock

}

News briefs:August 2, 2010

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China’s winter weather threatens food supplies

Thursday, January 31, 2008

A Chinese official says harsh winter weather is threatening food production and adding to inflationary pressures. Political pressure is also building on the government for its failure to anticipate and solve the problems.

A top Chinese disaster relief official was quoted by Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post newspaper Thursday as calling it the worst natural disaster since the People’s Republic was founded in 1949.

Tens of millions of Chinese have been affected by the snowstorms across the central and southern parts of the country. Hundreds of thousands are camping out in train stations, hoping the snowed-in trains will start running again to take them home for the lunar new year holiday. An unknown number of people are stranded on icy highways, cut off from adequate heat and food.

The situation is so serious that Premier Wen Jiabao has personally visited train stations in Hunan and Guangdong provinces in the past couple of days. He is telling stranded workers the government is trying to get transportation moving so they can get home for the holiday. But other officials have advised migrant workers to forget about going home, and stay in their places of work.

Officials say unusually low temperatures and heavy snowfalls have destroyed crops and greenhouses, and are severely affecting winter food production. Chen Xiwen is the deputy director of the Communist Party‘s leading financial team.

Chen says the impact of the disaster in southern China on winter crop production is extremely serious. He says the impact on fresh vegetables and fruit has been catastrophic in some places.

Prices for fresh fruit and vegetables have doubled in some of the worst-hit areas. The situation is exacerbating the rise in food prices that began last year.

China’s consumer price index rose nearly 5 percent for all of 2007, and was up 6.5 percent in December alone. A major part of the increase was in food prices.

Chen, however, says he does not expect inflation this month to get worse, despite the crop damage being caused by the snow.

Chen says winter grain and edible oils are grown mainly in the north, which is outside the storms’ reach, and winter wheat production will not be seriously affected.

Two weeks of ice and snowstorms have killed more than 60 people and caused more than three billion dollars in direct damage.

China’s top weather expert told state media Thursday the storms will last well into the new year holiday, which begins February 6.

The lunar new year is China’s most important holiday. Normally, tens of millions of people would be heading home at this time.

Emergency declared in US state of Washington, eight additional casualties, many still without power

Monday, December 18, 2006

A state of emergency was declared Sunday for the U.S. state of Washington by governor Christine Gregoire, as additional reports of storm-related casualties surfaced. The state National Guard has been deployed to aid in distributing supplies.

Thousands were still without power in the coastal and Puget Sound regions, though most urban areas were back with power as late as Sunday afternoon, and outages were mostly contained to rural and unincorporated areas. Puget Sound Energy reported that roughly 500,000 energy customers out of the 700,000 who lost power were back in service by Sunday evening. Seattle City Light, the city’s independent municipal utility, reported only 18,000 customers still without power as of Monday morning, down from a peak of 175,000.

Four additional deaths related to the post-storm power outage had been reported as of Monday, bringing the total number of casualties to eight. A man in Gig Harbor was electrocuted by a downed power line while walking his dog. Another man in Spanaway died when an unattended candle caused a house fire.

Two died from carbon monoxide poisoning in separate incidents related to use of combustion devices indoors. Roughly a hundred additional cases of non-fatal carbon monoxide poisoning were reported from people using generators or grills indoors. News radio stations and authorities warned the public to stay away from downed power lines and not to use grills indoors. Dr. Neil Hampson at Virginia Mason’s hyperbaric unit, where a number of victims were being treated, warned it could be “the worse case of carbon monoxide poisioning in the country”.

On Monday, four new carbon-monoxide deaths were reported in a family of five in Burien due to an indoor generator. In Canada, which had some damage from the week’s storms, two southern British Columbia carbon monoxide deaths were also reported. Despite continued warnings, hospitals are still seeing cases of carbon monoxide poisoning, including a family in w:Shoreline, Washington which was taken to the hospital after they reported symptoms due to their indoor grill. Neighbors of the Burien family suggested that noise concerns are leading people to place noisy generators indoors.

The massive power outage left many stores and gas stations unable to operate. Some businesses opened with the help of backup generators, conserving power by foregoing heat and refrigeration, exterior lighting, and half the interior lighting. Most stores had run out of “D” size batteries, the most common size for flashlights, as well as firelogs and other essentials. Gasoline shortages were reported throughout the area, with one man selling excess fuel for as high as $15 per gallon, over 5 times the average retail price.

The Red Cross set up shelters throughout King and other affected counties for those without power or food. Hotels reported no vacancies as whole families took shelter in powered hotels, especially in Seattle. Restaurants also reported brisk business as people sought out a hot cooked meal. Tons of perishable food were expected to have become unsafe after the prolonged outage disabled refrigerators and freezers both in homes and stores.

Many of those without power visited nearby friends and family living where power had been continued or restored, while others traveled out of the area to places that had not been affected. The widespread outage made long-distance traveling treacherous on some major routes, with roadway lighting, cellular towers, and services disabled by the outage.

Most major roadways which were closed during the storm were reopened on Friday. The 520 Floating Bridge over Lake Washington, a major conduit to the technology-rich Eastside, sustained minor damage. Amtrak, which had halted its Cascades service, resumed Saturday evening. Sea-Tac Airport resumed operations with a reduced flight load, after a transient power outage on Friday disabled the airport radar and caused all planes to be grounded until it was repaired.

Virgin train crashes in England

Friday, February 23, 2007

This article features in a News Brief from Audio Wikinews:

A 9 Carriage Class 390 Pendolino train, with as many as 180 people onboard, operated by Virgin Trains has derailed and crashed in Cumbria, England.

The train was the 17:15 service from London’s Euston Station to Glasgow Central. Witnesses said that several passengers have broken bones. All but one carriage have slid down the embankment and all of the carriages were derailed. 5 people are still seriously injured in hospital, including the driver Ian Black, and 11 people altogether are still in hospital. Hospital reports early on Saturday morning indicate 1 death, 84 year old lady Margaret Masson from Glasgow.

“It’s our understanding there are a number of people injured on the train. We think there are numerous injuries,” said a spokesman for the Cumbria Fire and Rescue squad, Brian Mitchelhill.

“A train has crashed between Oxenholme and Tebay, but that is all we know at the moment. We have got two cars travelling there now and local police are attending,” said a spokeswoman for the British Transport Police.

At least twelve ambulances and at least five fire trucks are at the scene, along with 3 Royal Air Force Sea King helicopters, two mountain rescue teams and one police helicopter. The rescue effort was hampered by limited access to the remote site and poor weather conditions.

“At the moment, we have reports of various injuries, from leg injuries to back injuries and head injuries — ranging from minor to quite serious,” said an unnamed ambulance official.

“The carriage I am in is completely on its side, it did a sort of bump – and I was thinking don’t worry this fine – but then the swaying became very dramatic,” said a BBC executive, Caroline Thomson. “Where I am there are some injuries – a woman with a very badly hurt back but I suspect further up the train it’s a bit more serious.”

First reports suggested that the train hit something on the track at 20:15 near Grayrigg, between Oxenholme and Tebay, derailed and slid down an embankment. Early investigators reports say a set of points will be the primary focus of the investigation. All but one of the train’s carriages are said to have totally come off the tracks, a spokeswoman said.

So far 12 passengers have been taken to The Royal Preston Hospital, where three casualties are said to be in a “critical condition” and one serious. 3 passengers with limb injuries are at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary. People with minor injuries were taken to a nearby farm before being transferred to a Kendal hotel.

As of 22:16, Sleeper services over the affected line have been suspended. Other major services are terminating at Preston or Carlisle according to (UK) National Rail Enquires. A five mile cordon has been set up to seal the crash site as investigators from the Rail Accident Investigation Branch attempt to determine the cause of the crash.

Virgin owner Richard Branson came to the site from his holiday in Switzerland and held a press conference at a safe distance, roughly 200 meters, from the site. Branson stated that the Virgin Train Pendolino was “built like a tank”, and believed the track was to blame. All of the carriages retained their integrity and none of the windows broke. Mr Branson also praised the driver of the train for attempting to stop the train and not leaving the cockpit.

Network Rail has checked 700 sets of rail points in response to the accident, though no speed restrictions have been imposed.

British Transport Police Contact Number 0800 40 50 40