Avanti West Coast

Avanti West Coast
Avanti West Coast Logo.svg
Avanti West Coast Pendolino 7.20.jpg
Class 390 Pendolino on the West Coast Main Line at Cathiron, 2020
Overview
Franchise(s)West Coast Partnership
8 Dec 2019 – 31 March 2026
Main region(s)
Fleet size
Stations called at46
Stations operated16
Parent companyFirstGroup (70%)
Trenitalia (30%)
Reporting markVT
PredecessorVirgin Trains
Other
Websitewww.avantiwestcoast.co.uk
Route map
West Coast Partnership service pattern (2019).svg

Avanti West Coast is a train operating company in the United Kingdom owned by FirstGroup (70%) and Trenitalia (30%) that began operating the West Coast Partnership franchise on 8 December 2019. It replaced Virgin Trains, which had operated the InterCity West Coast franchise between 1997 and 2019. The franchise was initially scheduled to run until March 2030, operating High Speed 2 services from 2026.[1] However, in December 2020, it was announced that it will be terminated on 31 March 2026 as part of the abolition of the franchise system.[2]

The franchise covers long-distance passenger services on the West Coast Main Line between London, the West Midlands, North West England, North Wales and Scotland, connecting six of the UK's largest cities: London, Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester, Glasgow and Edinburgh, which have a combined metropolitan population of over 18 million.

History

In November 2016, the Department for Transport (DfT) announced that the InterCity West Coast franchise would be superseded by the West Coast Partnership (WCP), which would include operating High Speed 2 (HS2) services from 2026.[3]

The DfT required that bidders have experience in high-speed trains and infrastructure, hence all partnered with an existing high-speed operator.[4][5] In June 2017, the DfT announced that three consortia had been shortlisted to bid for the franchise:[6][7]

In December 2018 Renfe Operadora joined the MTR-led bid.[8] In April 2019, the Stagecoach-led bid was disqualified after it proposed significant changes to the commercial terms.[9]

In August 2019 the DfT awarded the franchise to the First Trenitalia consortium with Avanti West Coast to commence operations on 8 December 2019.[10][11] The Competition and Markets Authority launched a merger inquiry into the award of the franchise following a referral from the European Commission.[12][13]

Services

Avanti West Coast currently operates the same services as Virgin Trains did on the West Coast Main Line.

Over the course of the franchise several timetable changes are expected to be made.[14]

Unlike London North Western Railway and London Overground, Oyster or Contactless payment card are not valid on Avanti West Coast services between London Euston and Watford Junction, as Avanti services are pick-up only northbound and set-down only southbound at Watford Junction.

As of September 2021, the intercity routes are shown below:

London - West Midlands
RoutetphCalling atStock
London Euston to Birmingham New Street[a]1
  • All peak hour and most weekend services extend to Wolverhampton, calling at Sandwell and Dudley
London Euston to Shrewsbury-
  • Watford Junction, Rugby, Coventry, Birmingham International, Birmingham New Street, Sandwell and Dudley, Wolverhampton, Telford Central, Wellington
221
London - Manchester
RoutetphCalling atStock
London Euston to Manchester Piccadilly via Stoke-on-Trent1
  • Peak time trains additionally call at one or more of:
  • Normally one train per day from Manchester Piccadilly to London Euston via Birmingham New Street.
390
London Euston to Manchester Piccadilly via Crewe1
  • Milton Keynes Central , Crewe, Wilmslow, Stockport
  • Peak time trains additionally call at one or more of:
    • Watford Junction, Milton Keynes Central, Rugby, Nuneaton, Tamworth and Lichfield Trent Valley
London - Chester and North Wales
RoutetphCalling atStock
Crewe to Holyhead-
  • Chester, Flint, Prestatyn, Rhyl, Colwyn Bay, Llandudno Junction, Bangor
  • 7 trains per day, of which 1 terminates at Bangor. 1 train per day has a dividing portion to Wrexham General.
  • Three trains per day run between Crewe and Chester only.
  • Two trains per day continue to London Euston, calling at
    • Stafford (Limited), Lichfield Trent Valley (Limited) and Milton Keynes Central[16]
221
London - Liverpool
RoutetphCalling atStock
London Euston to Liverpool Lime Street1
  • Peak time trains additionally call at one or more of:
390
London - North West and Scotland
RoutetphCalling atStock
London Euston to Glasgow Central1
  • Warrington Bank Quay, Wigan North Western, Preston, Lancaster, Oxenholme Lake District, Penrith North Lakes, Carlisle, Motherwell
  • Peak time trains additionally call at one or more of:
    • Milton Keynes Central, Tamworth, Lichfield Trent Valley, Crewe and Lockerbie
390
London Euston to Blackpool North /Edinburgh Waverley/Glasgow Central via Birmingham New Street1
  • 1tp2h continues to Edinburgh Waverley calling at
  • 1tp2h continues to Blackpool North only
  • 1tpd continues to Glasgow Central calling at
London - Crewe
RoutetpdCalling atStock
London Euston to Crewe via Trent Valley Line1390
London Euston to Crewe via Birmingham New Street2

Future services

Future services include:

  • an additional service will be introduced to Shrewsbury from December 2022
  • subject to approval by the Office of Rail and Road, an additional hourly service will be introduced between London Euston and Liverpool Lime Street with a stop at Liverpool South Parkway from December 2022
  • additional direct journeys at Milton Keynes Central to and from London Euston from December 2022
  • extension of the daily service from London Euston to Wrexham General to Gobowen from December 2022
  • earlier first trains and later last trains from London Euston to Llandudno Junction on weekends from December 2022
  • earlier first trains and later last trains from London Euston to Chester on weekends by December 2022

Named trains

Avanti West Coast operates a named passenger train:

NameOriginDestinationOther details
Royal ScotGlasgow CentralLondon Euston

Classes of service

Uniquely among domestic train companies within the UK, Avanti West Coast operates three classes of service.

  • Standard class occupies 6 coaches of 9-coach Pendolinos, 7 coaches of 11-coach Pendolinos, and 4 coaches of 5-coach Super Voyager trains. It consists of 2x2 seating, predominantly airline-style with fold-down tray tables; there is a limited number of bays of 4 seats around tables. Food and drink are available for purchase from the shop in coach C, with at-seat delivery sometimes available.
  • Standard Premium class occupies 1-2 coaches of 9-coach Pendolinos and 2-3 coaches of 11-coach Pendolinos (variable depending on demand). It consists of wider 2x1 seating, with all seats having a table. There is no standard premium service on Super Voyager trains. Food and drink are available for purchase from the shop in coach C, with at-seat delivery sometimes available. Passengers can purchase Standard Premium tickets in advance or upgrade on-board for a variable fee depending on distance travelled.
  • First Class occupies 1-2 coaches of Pendolinos and 1 coach of each 5-coach Super Voyager, usually at the London end. It has the same 2x1 all-table seating as Standard Premium. Other than on very short journeys, passengers are served a hot meal included in the fare, with complimentary alcoholic, hot, and soft drinks available from about midday until end of service.

Rolling stock

Avanti West Coast commenced operations having inherited the existing Super Voyager and Pendolino fleets from Virgin Trains.

Current fleet

 Class Image Type  Top speed  Carriages  Number  Built  Notes 
 mph  km/h 
221 Super VoyagerAvanti Voyager departing Rugby 11.21.jpgDEMU1252005202001–2002Set numbers 221101-118 & 221142-143
Refurbished and overhauled. They are scheduled to be replaced from 2022 by the new AT300 units.[17][18]
390/0 & 390/1 PendolinoAvanti liveried 390155 Euston.jpg
Avanti 390148 Euston.jpg
EMU1402259212001–2004Pendolino (from the Italian word Pendolo) refers to tilting trains.
To be retained long-term and refurbished throughout.[19]
Avanti Class 390 0.png
14022511312001–2004
  • Pendolino (from the Italian word Pendolo) refers to tilting trains.
  • To be retained long-term and refurbished throughout.[19]
42010–2012
Avanti Class 390 1.png

Future fleet

All 20 of the Class 221 Super Voyager units will be replaced by 23 new trains from the Hitachi A-train family with maintenance taking place at Alstom's Oxley TRSMD depot in Wolverhampton.[20][21] These trains are to be divided into thirteen Class 805 bi-mode multiple units and ten Class 807 electric multiple units.[22] Although the units will have the same top speed, they will not tilt like the Class 390 Pendolinos nor the Class 221 "Super Voyager" units they will replace. The Class 805 units are to be used for services to Shrewsbury, Chester, Gobowen and North Wales and the Class 807 units are to be used for services to Birmingham New Street, Blackpool North and Liverpool Lime Street (alongside the Pendolinos).[19][23]

Avanti West Coast plans to operate at least 54 new trains for High Speed 2 services, these trains will be built by Hitachi Rail and Alstom in the UK and are expected to enter service between 2029-2033.[24]

FamilyClassImageTypeTop speedNumberCarriagesRoutes operatedEntering service
mphkm/h
Hitachi AT300805AWC-AT300.jpgBi-mode multiple unit1252001352023[25]
Avanti Class 805 w-pantograph.png
807Electric multiple unit125200107
Avanti Class 807 w-pantograph.png
Alstom/HitachiTBAElectric multiple unit22536054[26]82029-2033

Notes

  1. ^ The London-Scotland via Birmingham service means a total of 2tph between London Euston and Birmingham New Street

References

  1. ^ "Avanti West Coast prepares for launch on December 8". International Railway Journal. 28 November 2019. Retrieved 19 December 2020.
  2. ^ "Two franchises abolished for good, as First and DfT agree terms | Railnews | Today's news for Tomorrow's railway". www.railnews.co.uk. Retrieved 19 December 2020.
  3. ^ "New West Coast rail franchise to run HS2 services". BBC News. Retrieved 8 November 2016.
  4. ^ Lea, Robert. "Wanted: Superfast mover to partner Virgin and Stagecoach for HS2". The Times. Retrieved 4 March 2017.
  5. ^ "RENFE poised to join Virgin's HS2 franchise bid". Railway Gazette International. DVV Media Group. Retrieved 12 March 2017.
  6. ^ West Coast Partnership and South Eastern rail franchise bidders Department for Transport 22 June 2017
  7. ^ "Three shortlisted for West Coast Partnership franchise". Railway Gazette International. DVV Media Group. Retrieved 22 June 2017.
  8. ^ "RENFE joins MTR's West Coast Partnership bid team". Railway Gazette International 20 December 2018
  9. ^ Stagecoach disqualified from three franchises in pension dispute Railway Gazette 10 April 2019
  10. ^ FirstGroup and Trenitalia welcome West Coast Partnership Award FirstGroup 14 August 2019
  11. ^ "West Coast marks new partnership model for rail" (Press release). Department for Transport. 14 August 2019.
  12. ^ "First Rail Holdings & Trenitalia UK / West Coast Partnership Rail Franchise". GOV.UK. Retrieved 27 October 2019.
  13. ^ Topham, Gwyn (27 November 2019). "West coast train services to be rebranded with Avanti logo". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 28 November 2019.
  14. ^ West Coast Partnership franchise improvements map Department for Transport 14 August 2019
  15. ^ "Avanti West Coast 12 September - 11 December 2021 Timetable" (PDF). Avanti West Coast. Archived (PDF) from the original on 5 November 2021.
  16. ^ "Avanti West Coast Sunday 12 September to Saturday 11 December 2021 Timetable" (PDF). Avanti West Coast. Archived (PDF) from the original on 5 November 2021.
  17. ^ Holden, Michael (31 December 2020). "Avanti West Coast and Bombardier completes £8 million refurb of Voyager trains". Rail Advent. Archived from the original on 31 December 2020.
  18. ^ Holden, Michael (29 January 2021). "Avanti West Coast unveils new Class 221 Voyager livery". Rail Advent. Archived from the original on 29 January 2021.
  19. ^ a b c First Trenitalia awarded West Coast Partnership Railway Gazette International 14 August 2019
  20. ^ "Hitachi Rail chosen to build new InterCity trains for Avanti West Coast". Global Railway Review. Retrieved 13 July 2020.
  21. ^ Nowell, David (6 December 2019). "Inter-city rail operator's £350m new trains fleet to be built in UK". Lancashire Post. Preston. Retrieved 13 July 2020.
  22. ^ Clinnick, Richard (9 June 2020). "Avanti confirms class numbers for Hitachi train order". Rail. Peterborough. Retrieved 13 July 2020.
  23. ^ "Avanti West Coast launched", Railways Illustrated, February 2020, page 6
  24. ^ "HS2: New £2bn 225mph trains to be designed and built in the UK by Hitachi and Alstom". RailAdvent. 9 December 2021. Retrieved 9 December 2021.
  25. ^ "Rolling Stock Special: New Trains on order". Today's Railways UK. No. 241. March 2022. p. 30.
  26. ^ "Alstom-Hitachi joint venture wins £2bn HS2 fleet contract". International Railway Journal. 9 December 2021. Retrieved 11 December 2021.

External links

Media files used on this page

Avanti Voyager departing Rugby 11.21.jpg
Author/Creator: G-13114, Licence: CC BY-SA 4.0
An Avanti West Coast Voyager departing Rugby. Unfortunately, this photograph is far from ideal, as the lineside vegetation and equipment partly obscured the front of the train, but I decided it was worth uploading anyway.
Avanti 390148 Euston.jpg
Author/Creator: SavageKieran, Licence: CC BY-SA 4.0
Avanti West Coast 390148 arrives into London Euston from Glasgow Central.
AWC-AT300.jpg
Author/Creator: Hitachi Rail Europe, Licence: CC BY 1.0
Avanti West Coast Hitachi train order press release image
Avanti liveried 390155 Euston.jpg
Author/Creator: SavageKieran, Licence: CC BY-SA 4.0
Avanti West Coast 390155 awaits departure from London Euston to Manchester Piccadilly. This is wearing the new Avanti West Coast livery which came after they took over from Virgin Trains.
Avanti West Coast Logo.svg
Author/Creator:

Avanti West Coast

, Licence: PD

Avanti West Coast

Avanti West Coast Pendolino 7.20.jpg
Author/Creator: G-13114, Licence: CC BY-SA 4.0
An Avanti West Coast liveried Pendolino, heading north on the West Coast Main Line at Cathiron.
West Coast Partnership service pattern (2019).svg
Author/Creator: Rcsprinter123, Licence: CC BY 3.0
A vector map showing routes and calling patterns on Avanti West Coast as of December 2019.
Avanti Class 807 w-pantograph.png
Author/Creator: WestRail642fan, Licence: CC BY-SA 4.0
Avanti West Coast Class 807 based on concept art
Avanti Class 805 w-pantograph.png
Author/Creator: WestRail642fan, Licence: CC BY-SA 4.0
Avanti West Coast Class 805 based on concept art
Avanti Class 390 0.png
Author/Creator: WestRail642fan, Licence: CC BY-SA 4.0
Class 390/0 in the Avanti West Coast livery
BSicon mTINT saffron+green.svg
Icons for Monterrey Metro Lines
Avanti Class 390 1.png
Author/Creator: WestRail642fan, Licence: CC BY-SA 4.0
Class 390/1 in the Avanti West Coast livery