Credit: Tom Stevenson

New National Rail Contract agreed for the West Coast Partnership

New National Rail Contract for the West Coast Partnership to start on 15 October 2023. 

  • National Rail Contract (NRC) for West Coast Partnership (WCP) agreed with the Department of Transport
  • NRC will begin on 15 October 2023 and last until 2032 subject to approval
  • WCP consists of Avanti West Coast and West Coast Partnership Development

A new National Rail Contract (NRC) for the West Coast Partnership (WCP) has been agreed with the Department for Transport (DfT), it was announced today.

WCP comprises Avanti West Coast and West Coast Partnership Development – the Shadow Operator for the HS2 programme.

The NRC will commence on 15 October 2023 and will last until 17 October 2032 subject to ongoing DfT approval. It begins with a core three-year term to 18 October 2026.

Commenting on the announcement, Avanti West Coast Managing Director Andy Mellors said: “The National Rail Contract for the West Coast Partnership announced today provides stability for customers and colleagues as we continue to rebuild trust as well as confidence. 

“Over the last six months, we have delivered significant and sustained improvements in operational performance and customer satisfaction. Cancellations that Avanti West Coast is responsible for have stabilised at below two percent of scheduled services. The last year has been challenging but I would like to thank our customers as well as stakeholders for their patience.

“There are still challenges ahead but plenty to look forward to on our network including customer benefits such as the continued award-winning refurbishment of our Pendolinos and the introduction of our new Hitachi fleet, which will increase capacity and further improve our sustainability credentials.”

Shamit Gaiger, Managing Director, of West Coast Partnership Development, said: “The new National Rail Contract will enable us to continue to focus on the design, development and implementation of future high-speed services on the network as we aim to set new standards in UK rail.

"We are committed to working with our partners to realise the benefits these services will provide to our economy, communities and passengers. As the infrastructure is built, we will ensure customers are at the heart of future high-speed services on the West Coast.”

Click here to read the First Group announcement.

Contact Information

Richard Stanton

Avanti West Coast


Notes to editors

About the West Coast Partnership

The West Coast Partnership (WCP) is a joint venture between FirstGroup and Trenitalia. The franchise comprises two distinct parts – Avanti West Coast that runs the current services on the West Coast Main Line, and West Coast Partnership Development that works with HS2 Ltd and the DfT to develop and operate high-speed rail services.

About Avanti West Coast

Avanti West Coast, operator of intercity rail services on the West Coast Main Line, is a joint venture between FirstGroup and Trenitalia, delivering a cleaner, greener railway that drives the West Coast forward.

We’re on a mission to revolutionise train travel. Our refurbed Pendolinos are returning to the rails, with a £117m investment that’s delivering best in class comfort. Rebuilt using sustainable materials wherever possible, including tables made from recycled plastic bottles, our upgraded fleet offers 25,000 brand new seats, free Wi-Fi, onboard recycling and much more.

New Hitachi trains are set to replace our Voyager trains from 2023, leading to a 61% cut in carbon emissions. Quieter and roomier, with more reliable Wi-Fi, wireless charging for electrical devices and a real-time customer information system, the new 23-strong fleet is the result of a £350m investment in sustainable travel.

We’re tackling climate change wherever we can, from reducing energy and water use to training drivers in eco-driving techniques and sourcing food and drink from local suppliers. Our goal is to be net zero carbon by 2031. We’re on track.

For the latest news, visit the Avanti West Coast Media Centre: https://newsdesk.avantiwestcoast.co.uk/

Press Office: 0845 000 3333

About West Coast Partnership Development

West Coast Partnership Development (WCPD) is designing and mobilising new high-speed services for the UK. These services will run on the new High Speed 2 (HS2) route and the existing railway, delivering quicker journeys and more capacity between London and Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester, Cumbria and Scotland.

Its goal is to maximise the benefits of the significant investment from the Department for Transport into the new High Speed 2 (HS2) railway, as well as the upgrades to the railway on the West Coast Mainline.

For the latest news, visit: https://www.westcoastpartnershipdevelopment.co.uk/

Press Office: 0845 000 3333