Delivering the best possible service for customers and communities

Hello and thanks for reading our latest stakeholder newsletter. This is the first edition published since I was appointed Managing Director. I would like to take this opportunity to introduce myself, and share our plans and priorities to deliver the best possible service to the customers and communities we are proud to serve.


I’m honoured to be the new Managing Director, especially with my long-standing connection to the West Coast Main Line both personally and professionally. I have lived and worked across the route, and understand how vital it is to connect people and places.


My priority, and my passion, is to give our customers the best possible experience. I am sorry for the inconvenience and frustration suffered in previous months. I want to rebuild confidence by consistently delivering our timetable promise and delivering a great customer experience. I also want to rebuild trust through collaboration, we’ll be honest, open, authentic, and accountable, including on the challenges that remain. And I want to help grow rail by developing our offering with introduction of new and refurbished fleet, as well as investing in communities.


Our recovery plan is working and delivering significant, measurable improvements in capacity, punctuality, performance and customer satisfaction. Reliability has improved significantly, over the last few months cancellations that AWC is responsible for have been stable at no more than 1.5%. Over 90% of all trains have arrived within 15 minutes of their planned time. Weekday tickets are now available 12 weeks in advance, and weekends are at 8 weeks – in line with industry standards. There is still some way to go, but Avanti West Coast is on the right track.


We are clear that challenges remain. We have already taken actions to improve traincrew availability. For example, over the last year, nearly 100 additional drivers have become available for operating our services, as new drivers and those who need re-training became available to work.  We have also worked to tackle structural issues, for example equalising rosters to minimise reliance on voluntary overtime.


We face summer performance headwinds. We anticipate resourcing challenges caused by a range of factors including increased training requirements for our new Hitachi trains, historic annual leave agreements, engineering works, and ongoing industrial disputes. Historically, these issues were mitigated through increased reliance on voluntary overtime.


We want to grow rail. Our Pendolinos are halfway through a £117m refurbishment, customers are enjoying new seats, better lighting, improved charging facilities, more luggage space, and more accessible friendly spaces. The Shop is also redesigned and offers more space. We are working with Hitachi to deliver a new £350m fleet of electric and bi-mode trains that will replace the diesel Super Voyager fleet. We continue to invest in regions and communities across our railway, and as I continue to travel the network, I look forward to meeting as many of you as possible.