The train operator Avanti West Coast has recently been met with widespread criticism and ire from the likes of Mayor for Greater Manchester Andy Burnham over their announcement of a majorly reduced timetable that restricts passage between London and Manchester.
The disruption of this North and Southern link has seen frequencies between the capital and Manchester reduced to as few as one per hour, compared to the usual three. This reduction in services has led to travel chaos for many commuters, forcing the operator to apologise for the “enormous frustration and inconvenience”.
However, given the recent news of Her Majesty The Queen’s death, Avanti has decided to add four extra services between 09:35 and 17:55 BST to the capital from Manchester, with four more then travelling in the opposite direction between 12:40 and 20:40. This decision was made in accordance with the increased demand for trains to the nations capital to afford people the chance to pay their respects for one of the UK’s greatest monarchs.
A spokesperson for Avanti West Coast said:
“With the sad news of the passing of Queen Elizabeth II, we’re expecting a great many mourners to visit London on our services. We’re working hard with industry partners to see where we can put on additional services during the period of mourning to enable people to pay their respects. With that in mind, we’ve been able to put in place up to eight additional services a day on our busiest route between London and Manchester. This will add a total of around 16,000 extra seats.
“We expect our trains to be extremely busy during this time, so we ask people to check before they travel and leave as much time as possible for their journey.”
Avanti have expressed to passengers that there may still be delays and disruptions to services due to an overall staff shortage in relation to the ongoing industrial action throughout the sector.
The operator is also yet to make a decision regarding the increased timetable at the weekend or on Monday for the state funeral.
A representative from the company stated:
“We are acutely aware that Saturday and Sunday are likely to be extremely busy with people from all over the UK travelling to London to pay their respects. Saturdays and Sundays are particularly difficult at the current time as they had the highest reliance on overtime. We are examining closely what opportunities there are for additional services on those days.”
Want to know more about the opportunities to become a key supplier to the UK rail industry? Attend TransCityRail and access an exclusive marketplace of buyers from Network Rail, HS2, Train Operators, Major Contractors, and all other tiers of the supply chain. For more information and to secure your place click here.