Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

London and Manchester mayors join forces to criticise reduction of train services

Passengers at Euston station in London (Yui Mok/PA)
Passengers at Euston station in London (Yui Mok/PA)

London mayor Sadiq Khan and Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham have criticised Avanti West Coast for drastically reducing its timetables, branding the decision “completely unacceptable”.

In a letter to Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, the regional leaders said the train operator’s recent timetable cuts were a “national outrage”.

Avanti West Coast slashed its timetables and suspended ticket sales on Monday due to “unofficial strike action” by drivers.

It said it will run as few as four trains per hour from Sunday in an attempt to halt the short-notice cancellations which have plagued its operations in recent weeks.

Avanti West Coast said the limited timetable will be in place “until further notice”.

“The plan to run just four trains an hour from London Euston, with only one service to Manchester, came with no notice nor any consultation beforehand and no date by which the full timetable will be restored,” a letter to Mr Shapps signed by both mayors and Manchester City Council leader Bev Craig said.

“This is completely unacceptable”.

The letter continued: “Our cities rely heavily on the West Coast Main Line and this unilateral withdrawal of services, on the basis of what appears to be a complete failure of Avanti’s senior management to manage rostering and rest day working, is frankly a national outrage.”

Train Stock
Generic stock of Avanti train at Euston station, central London (Peter Byrne/PA)

The letter asked for an urgent meeting with Mr Shapps and Avanti’s management to agree on a date for full restoration of the timetable.

It said: “If Avanti is unable to agree a date, or is unable to meet that date once agreed, we would ask that you begin the process of withdrawing the operator’s contract and do not grant it a new national rail contract once current arrangements end in October this year”.

The leaders said that Avanti blaming the disruption on “unofficial strike action” by train driver’s union Aslef was “disingenuous”.

They said: “Drivers are completely entitled to choose not to work on their rest days, it also seeks to shift blame off Avanti management for their failure to provide appropriate mitigations for an entirely foreseeable situation.

“It also reflects extremely poorly on an operator that should be working hard to bring the public back to rail.

“Avanti’s decision to suspend ticket sales damages the efforts of other public transport operators, making it harder for people to take the train and other sustainable forms of travel.”

In a letter to the rail industry, seen by the PA news agency, Avanti West Coast managing director Phil Whittingham wrote that the “current industrial relations climate” has resulted in “severe staff shortages in some grades through increased sickness levels, as well as unofficial strike action by Aslef members”.