Passengers travelling on the West Coast Main Line will see significantly improved Wi-Fi coverage on the route, following a £45m investment by operator Avanti West Coast.
Working in partnership with BT, the investment will see the network provider add capacity to nearly 200 cell masts via its mobile arm EE, boosting 4G network coverage on the West Coast route by June 2023, enabling faster, more reliable onboard train Wi-Fi.
By introducing new technology upgrades and addressing Wi-Fi blackspots where signal is currently weak or non-existent, the work is intended to enhance and expand Wi-Fi coverage for customers travelling on Avanti West Coast trains.
The programme is already underway, with BT covering work affecting the infrastructure and connectivity to enable the onboard Wi-Fi, which is undergoing system upgrades by Avanti West Coast, as part of the investment.
Areas set to benefit for the enhanced 4G coverage include Cheshire, Greater Manchester, Merseyside, and Staffordshire, as well as regions of Lancashire, Cumbria, and Edinburgh.
Rail Minister Chris Heaton-Harris said: “Avanti West Coast’s upgrade work, supported by the Department for Transport, is a win for everyone who uses, or lives close to the West Coast Main Line.
“Investing in better connectivity helps transform rail travel, improving journeys for passengers by building a black-spot free network, with the added benefit of supporting local communities.”
Phil Whittingham, Managing Director at Avanti West Coast, added: “This is a really exciting partnership with BT. The benefits of working with the UK’s leading telecommunications and network provider on this project will enhance reliability of our onboard Wi-Fi and give our customers faster speeds and extended coverage on our route.
“It’s a significant step towards better digital connectivity on the West Coast Main Line, which has never been more important. These improvements will enable our customers to stay connected during their journey and be more productive onboard our trains, while boosting mobile coverage for communities local to our route.”