Avanti West Coast has been revealed as the new name for the West Coast rail franchise, which will operate trains from Stockport to London and Manchester, following an official unveiling in Birmingham yesterday.
The name means ‘forward’ in Italian, referencing to the Italian origins of rail company, Trenitalia, which will operate the service in partnership with First Group. The franchise hope the new name will reflect their mission to offer a service ‘fit for the future.’ The triangular logo represents the three termini of their services, in Scotland, London and North Wales.
The First Trenitalia partnership will run services until 2031. Avanti West Coast will also run HS2 services. Virgin Trains livery has already been removed from the trains ahead of the change in management on 8th December.
As reported yesterday, the new franchise plan to upgrade all trains on the network, increase capacity and on-board facilities. Stockport station is earmarked to have Changing Places toilets installed to improve accessibility for disabled passengers.
Steve Montgomery, managing director of First Rail, said at yesterday’s event in Birmingham:
Today marks the start of a new era in high-speed rail services – one that will generate national prosperity and pride. Avanti West Coast enshrines the type of forward-thinking operation we intend to run, that’s ready for today and fit for the future.
“We’re looking forward to taking over the franchise in 11 days’ time and we are very pleased and proud to be working with Trenitalia, a strong partner who is committed to playing an increasing role in UK rail and has many years of expertise in the high-speed sector in Italy.
“We are committed to our customers and over the next few years, we will work with our industry and local partners not only to invest in, and improve, rail services on the route, but also to attract more people to rail and connect communities across the country.”
Passengers who have previously booked tickets for services after 8th December will see no changes to their validity when Avanti West Coast takes over.