An extra 70 services a week on its busiest route between London and Manchester, compared with the current timetable, is the first stage of a recovery plan by Avanti West Coast (AWC) to “build a robust timetable that isn’t reliant on overtime”, which led to the current problem.
It comes after AWC was forced to introduce an emergency timetable on August 14 in an effort to halt short-notice cancellations with four trains per hour, instead of the usual seven, leaving London Euston (RAIL 964).
Providing 40,000 extra seats a week on the West Coast Main Line (WCML), the reintroduced services do not rely on overtime working.
A further increase is planned in “mid-December” (exact date to be announced), by which time additional drivers will have been trained.
Services were reduced in early August as a result of drivers being unwilling to sign up for the overtime. This caused numerous short-notice cancellations, so the timetable was reduced to make it more reliable and allow people to travel with greater certainty. As a result, short-notice cancellations dropped from 16% to 3%.
Although the timetable was reduced, AWC ran additional services where they were most needed and resource allowed. On weekdays between 0600 and 0800, it ran seven trains from Manchester to London, almost the same as pre-COVID. From 0700-0900, it ran six trains from Birmingham to London, the same as pre-COVID.
AWC Executive Director of Operations and Safety Barry Milsom said: “Resolving this situation required a robust plan that allows us to gradually increase services without being reliant on train-crew overtime.
To read the full story, see RAIL 967