Electrified overhead lines (via Network Rail image library)

Industry collaboration sees Avanti West Coast boost services

As part of supporting passengers through a period of short-term timetable changes, as essential works are carried out on the West Coast Main Line, Avanti West Coast has worked with industry to increase the number of services it provides.

Planned upgrade works near Wolverhampton, aimed at increasing connectivity between the North West, Midlands and London, have allowed the operator to extend five services between Wolverhampton and London Euston each day, helping to serve Crewe and Blackpool North.

Avanti West Coast were able to work alongside Alstom, who maintain the train operator’s fleet, and Network Rail, who are responsible for railway infrastructure and delivering the essential works.

The works began on April 19, 2021 and will run for eight consecutive weekdays until April 28, 2021.

The short-term timetable changes have occurred because of trains being kept at the Oxley depot, located near Wolverhampton, during the day because of the reduced timetable.

Timetable reductions were essential to allow Network Rail access to carry out repairs to overhead power lines.

With entry to the depot restricted and the site unable to function normally due to power being switched off while the works take place, trains could not be stabled until they were required later in the day.

Therefore, a collaborative effort was made to keep these trains in service for longer.

Alongside working with Network Rail to amend the timetable, Avanti West Coat had to work with partners to adapt its scheduled maintenance of its fleet and ensure overnight upkeep of the trains continued at the Oxley depot once power was restored.

Once completed, the essential works will improve resilience of overhead wires during hot weather, preventing sagging and reducing the risk of them coming down, which can result in delays.

Gus Dunster, Executive Director of Operations and Safety at Avanti West Coast, said: “We are pleased to have worked with Alstom and Network Rail to utilise our trains to provide more connections between the North West, the Midlands and London, while these essential works take place.

“Facilitating the repairs to the overhead wires near Wolverhampton is the latest example of how the industry has collaborated to minimise the impact to people’s journeys, and on this occasion offer additional connectivity for our customers.”

Dave Penney, Network Rail’s Central Route Director, added: “We’ve worked closely with Avanti West Coast and Alstom so these services can continue to run with the added bonus for passengers of a direct connection to Blackpool from the West Midlands during the work.

“Maintenance like this is carefully planned with our partners and is key to keeping trains moving in the future.”

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