First Group and Trenitalia have announced the new name for the West Coast Partnership, welcoming Avanti West Coast to the West Coast Mainline.
Avanti West Coast will be the name of the new InterCity West Coast rail franchise.
Avanti is Italian for “Forward!” and reflects the mission set by First Group and Trenitalia to to deliver an innovative railway service that is “ready for today and fit for the future”, according to the new operators.
FirstGroup and Trenitalia will take over the operation of InterCity West Coast rail services from Virgin Trains from 8 December 2019.
The Avanti West Coast logo symbolises the geographic extent of the 400-mile long route that serves cities like Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool and Glasgow as well as London and North Wales.
Under the new partnership, the 56 Pendolino trains will be completely refurbished with 25,000 brand new seats, more reliable Wi-Fi and improved catering. By 2022, there will be 263 more train services every week to more places and a fleet of new trains introduced.
The Partnership will also make way for a new era in high-speed rail in the UK in the coming years, working with HS2 Ltd and the Department for Transport.
What did the officials say?
Speaking at the launch of the new brand, Steve Montgomery, Managing Director of First Rail, one of the UK’s most experienced rail operators, said:
“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.”
Ernesto Sicilia, Managing Director, Trenitalia (UK) Ltd, said:
“It’s an amazing honour to partner with FirstGroup. After our entrance into the British market in 2017, today marks another step in our ambition to play a positive role in the UK rail industry, in which we see a great future. Avanti West Coast is a strong, progressive and dynamic brand that reflects our commitment to providing our customers with an exceptional service. We are thrilled that the name Avanti has been chosen to represent these values to our customers and pays tribute to our expertise in transforming Italian railways. ”
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