It’s been more than a year since our lives were turned upside down by the Covid pandemic. Now, as the vaccine rollout continues apace and normal activity begins to return across society, we are working with the Government to ensure the railway once again plays its full role in connecting the country.
From 16 May, the Avanti West Coast timetable will move to six trains per hour, up from 4tph at present (more detail available on our website here). This means that all our destinations will be served once again, though there will be two trains per hour between London-Birmingham and London-Manchester, as opposed to 3tph prior to the pandemic. This timetable will remain in place until September, and we will continue to monitor and flex if required, as guided by Government guidance and passenger demand.
We are currently planning to accommodate additional services during the Euro 2021 tournament. Matches are to be played at both Hampden Park and Wembley Stadium and we expect to see an increase in demand during these times. Full details of our plans will be available to view via our website once confirmed.
I’d like to pay tribute to the hard work that our people have undertaken during this challenging time to provide essential services, and for the work they continue to do to ensure our customers have a safe and pleasant journey. Some of their stories are now being celebrated in a new exhibition at the National Railway Museum. I know they’re looking forward to welcoming you back onboard and to help you reconnect with friends, colleagues and loved ones – wherever and whenever you are travelling.
While day-to-day rail services have been heavily impacted over the last year, our work to invest and help build the railway of tomorrow has continued. We have introduced a number of digital innovations including a new smartcard, better real-time information and a new Facebook page for disabled customers which you can read about below, along with updates on how we’re introducing brand new trains whilst overhauling our Pendolino fleet – to improve passengers’ journeys.
Work also continues designing HS2 services to ensure they meet the needs of the next generation of passengers. Caroline Donaldson, Managing Director of West Coast Partnership Development, explains below how an innovative approach is needed to get the best out of HS2 services.
Although we couldn’t meet in person, we were really pleased to share time with almost 200 attendees at our first ever stakeholder conference, and hear your ideas on how the railway should be improved. You can read more about that discussion below and, as ever, please do get in touch with our team of dedicated Regional Growth Managers if you want to discuss this or any other aspects of our business.