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Goodbye, Virgin Trains: Name of new West Coast operator revealed | Business News



The operator replacing Virgin Trains is going to be known as Avanti – the Italian word for “forward”.

Aberdeen-based FirstGroup, along with the Italian firm Trenitalia, are taking over the West Coast Main Line from 8 December.

Avanti West Coast’s trains and station signs will display an orange triangle logo to symbolise the 400-mile train network connecting London with towns and cities in England, North Wales and Scotland.

The Avanti logo incorporates the route on which it will operate
The Avanti logo incorporates the network it operates on

The new operator has pledged to deliver a range of enhancements for passengers, including an additional 263 services a week by 2022.

In addition, the current fleet of 56 Pendolino trains used by Virgin will be completely refurbished.

Passengers are being promised 25,000 new seats, more reliable WiFi, improved catering and simpler fares.

First Rail managing director Steve Montgomery said: “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.”

Trenitalia UK managing director Ernesto Sicilia said: “Avanti West Coast is a strong, progressive and dynamic brand that reflects our commitment to providing our customers with an exceptional service.”

A total of six strikes are planned - including on one Friday 22 December
Virgin Trains has run services on the West Coast Main Line since 1997

Both of the companies involved in the new franchise already run rail services in the UK.

FirstGroup currently operates Great Western Railway, South Western Railway and TransPennine Express, while Trenitalia runs trains on the c2c line between east London and Essex.

The partnership between Virgin Group and Stagecoach, which began in 1997, was the UK’s longest-running franchise.

It had its bid to continue operating the line blocked by the Department for Transport in a row over pensions.

Sir Richard Branson said he was “devastated” by the decision to strip Virgin of the licence.

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