|Franchise(s)||West Coast Partnership|
8 Dec 2019 – 31 March 2031
|Main region(s)||Greater London|
South East England
North West England
|Fleet size||20 Class 221 Super Voyagers|
56 Class 390 Pendolinos
|Stations called at||46|
|Parent company||FirstGroup (70%) |
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 franchise since 1997.
In November 2016, the Department for Transport (DfT) announced that the InterCity West Coast franchise would be superseded by the West Coast Partnership (WCP), which would include operating High Speed 2 (HS2) services from 2026.
The DfT required that bidders have experience in high-speed trains and infrastructure, hence all partnered with an existing high-speed operator. In June 2017, the DfT announced that three consortia had been shortlisted to bid for the franchise:
- FirstGroup (70%) / Trenitalia (30%)
- MTR Corporation (75%) / Guangshen Railway Company (25%)
- Stagecoach (50%) / SNCF (30%) / Virgin Group (20%)
In August 2019 the DfT awarded the franchise to the First Trenitalia consortium with Avanti West Coast to commence operations on 8 December 2019. Some uncertainty remains as the Competition and Markets Authority launched a merger inquiry into the award of the franchise following a referral from the European Commission.
Over the course of the franchise several timetable changes are expected to be made.
The above table shows the regular off-peak service pattern; however, some services are extended beyond their usual destination. Extensions include:
- beyond Birmingham New Street: 2 trains per day to Shrewsbury calling at Sandwell and Dudley (1tpd), Wolverhampton, Telford Central and Wellington;
- beyond Chester: 1 train per day to Wrexham General only
In addition there are 4 trains per day between London Euston and Blackpool North, calling at Rugby, Stafford (1tpd), Crewe (1tpd), Warrington Bank Quay, Wigan North Western, Preston, Kirkham and Wesham (1tpd) and Poulton-le-Fylde (1tpd). These services operate at irregular intervals throughout the day.
Future services include:
- a daily service will be introduced between London Euston and Walsall from December 2020, with an additional northbound service from 2022
- an additional service will be introduced to Shrewsbury from December 2022
- a direct service will be introduced between London Euston and Llandudno during the summer months from May 2021
- 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 calls will be made at Motherwell from December 2020
- 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
- Later last trains from London Euston to Manchester Piccadilly on weekdays by December 2020
|221 Super Voyager||DEMU||125||200||5||20||2001–02||Set numbers 221101-118 & 221142-143|
To be replaced by the new bi-mode and EMU trains
|390/0 & 390/1 Pendolino||EMU||125||200||9||21||2001–04
|Pendolino (from Italian Pendolo) refers to tilting trains
To be retained long-term
All 20 Super Voyagers will be replaced by thirteen bi-mode multiple units and ten electric multiple units with the former used for services to Shrewsbury, Chester, Gobowen and North Wales and the latter used for services to Birmingham New Street, Blackpool North and Liverpool Lime Street. The new Hitachi AT300 fleets will be maintained at Alstom's Oxley depot.
|Class||Image||Type||Top speed||Number||Cars||Routes operated||Entering service|
|TBA ||Bi-mode multiple unit||125||200||13||5||2022|
|TBA ||Electric multiple unit||10||7||2022|
|TBA||Electric multiple unit||225||362||TBA||TBA||2026|
- "New West Coast rail franchise to run HS2 services". BBC News. 8 November 2016.
- Wanted: Superfast mover to partner Virgin and Stagecoach for HS2 The Times 4 March 2017
- RENFE poised to join Virgin's HS2 franchise bid Railway Gazette International 12 March 2017
- West Coast Partnership and South Eastern rail franchise bidders Department for Transport 22 June 2017
- "Three shortlisted for West Coast Partnership franchise". Railway Gazette International 22 June 2017
- "RENFE joins MTR's West Coast Partnership bid team". Railway Gazette International 20 December 2018
- Stagecoach disqualified from three franchises in pension dispute Railway Gazette 10 April 2019
- FirstGroup and Trenitalia welcome West Coast Partnership Award FirstGroup 14 August 2019
- "West Coast marks new partnership model for rail" (Press release). Department for Transport. 14 August 2019.
- "First Rail Holdings & Trenitalia UK / West Coast Partnership Rail Franchise". GOV.UK. Retrieved 27 October 2019.
- Topham, Gwyn (27 November 2019). "West coast train services to be rebranded with Avanti logo". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 28 November 2019.
- West Coast Partnership franchise improvements map Department for Transport 14 August 2019
- First Trenitalia awarded West Coast Partnership Railway Gazette International 14 August 2019
- Avanti West Coast launches Railways Illustrated February 2020 page 6
- "First Trenitalia chooses Hitachi Rail to build new intercity trains for Avanti West Coast". FirstGroup PLC. Retrieved 6 December 2019.
- High Speed 2 rolling stock bids submitted Railway Gazette International 5 June 2019
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Avanti West Coast.|
InterCity West Coast franchise
| Operator of West Coast Partnership franchise