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Avanti takeover of the West Coast Main Line begins

Long-distance train services on The West Coast Main Line will be officially taken over by Avanti West Coast today (Dec 9), marking the start of a new era of intercity and high-speed rail services in the UK.

An Avanti train, featuring the new branding and franchise’s distinctive logo, will leave from Euston Station today, stopping at Coventry, Birmingham International, Stafford, Preston, Crewe, Carlisle and Motherwell before its final destination by early evening.

The debut train will be officially named ‘Pride and Prosperity’ by chief executive of FirstGroup, Matthew Gregory and Trenitalia’s managing director, Orazio Iacono. Also present will be Raffaele Trombetta, the Italian Ambassador to the UK, before its departure from London Euston.

The name of the train, and ‘Avanti’ itself (Italian for Let’s Go and Forward) have been chosen in recognition of the future of railways and the values and progress they will bring.

The logo’s orange triangle represents the three geographical points of the 400-mile long West Coast Main Line connecting our countries’ capital with towns and cities across England, North Wales and Scotland.

The West Coast Main Line was previously operated by Virgin Trains, who ran the service for 22 years, and is now in the hands of FirstGroup and Trenitatlia.

The new partnership will see the 56 Pendolino trains undergo complete refurbishment until they are ‘like new’, and 25,000 new seats installed.

Other passenger benefits include improved Wi-Fi and individual power sockets, simplified fares, improved on-board catering ad compensation if trains are delayed by 15 minutes.

263 extra trains will be in service every week by 2022, and a fleet of new, intercity trains will replace the current Voyager trains.

In addition to the Avanti services, The West Coast Partnership 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.

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.”

 Orazio Iacono, managing director of Trenitalia said:

“We’re honoured to begin operating intercity services on the West Coast Main Line, one of the busiest railways in Europe, that will bring a host of improvements for the millions of people who use it every year.  Trenitalia will also be using its skills to help design and manage high speed rail services from North to South in the UK over the next few years. The name Avanti was chosen to represent our values and recognises our ten-year experience in the high speed in Italy with 350 million passengers. Quality, dynamism, innovation and future: this is what we want to guarantee for the West Coast main line service.”


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