A new generation of 125mph supertrains was launched on the East Coast Main Line yesterday.

The £4m Virgin Tyne Voyager, one of 34 new Voyager trains now in service, was unveiled at Newcastle Central Station.

Yesterday's ceremony, at which the train was officially named, also signalled 70 more jobs for the region, including the creation of a servicing depot at Tyne Yard, near Gateshead.

The company's ageing high-speed trains are to be phased out over the next few months by rolling stock that is capable of accelerating at twice the speed of its predecessor.

The Voyagers include a shop, audio entertainment and full facilities for the disabled.

Along with journey times being reduced by 20 per cent, it is hoped that the new service will include hourly trains linking Newcastle and Durham with the Midlands and Scotland.

There will also be two trains an hour between Darlington and Birmingham.

Passengers who are travelling to the South coast, the South-West and South Wales will be able to bypass London.

Colin Harris, regional manager of Virgin Trains, said: "I am sure that the replacement of all our trains serving the North-East will be welcome because this will provide a more reliable, much more attractive service.