- North Wales welcomes Avanti West Coast at Wrexham General Station
- Train bearing the Avanti West Coast branding at launch event
- New era herald for the future of services on the route
Avanti West Coast has taken over the operation of long-distance train services in North Wales, heralding a new era with new trains and more services to and from England.
To mark the occasion in the presence of Ken Skates AM, Minister for Economy and Transport (Welsh Government) and key stakeholders from across Wales, a train bearing the Avanti West Coast branding is today (Dec 19) visiting Wrexham General station for a photo call.
The triangular Avanti logo symbolises the three geographic points of the West Coast Main Line that includes the connections between communities in North Wales and cities across England and Scotland.
Avanti West Coast will make significant improvements to rail services in North Wales including:
- A new fleet of quieter, more accessible and greener bi-mode trains in 2022 on the strategic Holyhead to London Euston route that also serves Bangor, Colwyn Bay, Llandudno Junction, Prestatyn and Rhyl.
- These new trains will have reliable, free Wi-Fi; at-seat wireless inductive charging for electronic devices, plug and USB sockets; a brand-new catering offer and a real-time passenger information system
- Withdrawing the diesel Super Voyager trains and cutting CO2 emissions by more than 60%
- More train services between North Wales and England including an additional service from Llandudno to London Euston from December 2020
- From December 2022, new direct services from Gobowen (via Wrexham) to London Euston that provides a rail link for nearby Oswestry on the England-Wales border
- Enhanced Welsh language provision for Welsh-speaking customers including announcements on Avanti West Coast train services in North Wales
- ‘Delay Repay 15’ compensation for customers when trains are delayed by 15 minutes or more.
Ken Skates AM, Welsh Government Minister for Economy and Transport said: "I'm pleased to welcome the start of the Avanti West Coast franchise and the increased services it will provide here in North Wales, as well as improved links to future high speed rail services. It is good to see the commitment to partnership working and I look forward to having meaningful engagement in the process for developing services to be delivered in the future.
"A commitment to work with Transport for Wales will ensure both franchises work collaboratively for passengers and stakeholders to deliver integrated services that meet the needs of Welsh customers fairly and equitably. We want to see improved services and connections for the people of North Wales that will deliver long-term benefits and I'm pleased to see the introduction of a new fleet of greener trains."
Steve Montgomery, Managing Director of First Rail said: “Our plans for new, greener trains, and for more services and new destinations will significantly enhance the quality of rail journeys for our customers travelling in and beyond North Wales. Avanti West Coast will work collaboratively with stakeholders and strategic partners such as Transport for Wales to bring communities across our network closer together.”
Ernesto Sicilia, Managing, Director of Trenitalia (UK), said: “We’re honoured to begin operating rail services between Wales and England. Avanti represents our progressive and innovative values of quality, dynamism and innovation: this is what we want to guarantee to the people of North Wales”.