- Official launch of Avanti West Coast train services across Britain
- New West Coast Partnership to bring package of improvements including new and refurbished trains, better stations and simplified fares
- West Coast Partnership Development established to start designing and developing future high-speed rail services
Avanti West Coast officially takes over the operation of long-distance train services on the West Coast Main Line today (December 9, 2019), heralding a new era of intercity and future high-speed rail services in the UK.
A fully liveried train bearing the franchise’s new branding with its distinctive logo will travel from Euston Station stopping at Coventry, Birmingham International, Stafford, Preston, Crewe, Carlisle and Motherwell before arriving in Glasgow in the early evening.
Before it departs from London Euston, Raffaele Trombetta, the Italian Ambassador to the UK, will name the train ‘Pride and Prosperity’ in recognition of the values the new railway will bring.The Avanti name, (Italian for Let’s Go, and Forward) symbolises progress and movement and the triangular logo represents the three geographic points of the 400-mile long West Coast Main Line that connects London with towns and cities across England, North Wales and Scotland.
FirstGroup and Trenitalia have taken over the franchise from Virgin Trains who ran the service for 22 years. The new partnership brings a package of improvements for customers. The 56 Pendolino trains will be completely refurbished to as new condition, with 25,000 new seats, more reliable Wi-Fi, and power sockets for all passengers. By 2022, there will be 263 extra train services every week to more places and a fleet of new intercity trains introduced to replace the diesel-only Super Voyagers.There’ll also be simplified fares,improved on-board catering and compensation if trains are delayed by 15 minutes.
Stations will be also improved with refreshed waiting rooms, better customer facilities, more car park spaces and greater accessibility for passengers with additional travel needs.
Steve Montgomery, Managing Director of First Rail said: “We’re delighted to start serving the customers who take 40 million journeys every year on the west coast. We’ll bring families, friends, businesses and communities closer together with new trains and new destinations. We’re excited to get our plans underway and take services to the next level.”
As well as the Avanti services, The West Coast Partnership also includes West Coast Partnership Development, which will be the ‘shadow operator’ for future high speed rail services. It will design, develop and mobilise operations for the new line working with HS2 Ltd and the Department for Transport.
Ernesto Sicilia, Managing Director of Trenitalia (UK) said: “We’re thrilled to begin operating intercity services on the West Coast Main Line, one of the busiest railways in Europe,and to be bringing a host of improvements for the millions of people who use it every year. We’ll also be using our skills and expertise from operating Italy’s high speed rail network to help design and deliver high speed rail services in the UK.”