First Trenitalia has unveiled the new branding for its forthcoming West Coast rail franchise, with the service set to operate under the Avanti West Coast name from next month.
Virgin Trains lost its long-standing franchise to operate the West Coast network earlier this year, with the service scheduled to be handed over to First Trenitalia on December 8.
The new franchise runs until 2031, and is being operated jointly by First Group (which has a 70 per cent holding) and Italy’s state railway company Trenitalia, which holds the remaining 30 per cent.
According to the group the Avanti name (which means “Forward, let’s go!” in Italian), “embodies progress and forward movement”.
The logo encompasses an orange triangle, which “symbolizes the three geographic points of the 400-mile long West Coast Main Line that services cities and towns across England, North Wales and Scotland”.
The new branding will be seen on trains, station signage, social media channels, printed materials, timetables, and on the new website avantiwestcoast.co.uk.
In a statement First Group said:
“Under the new West Coast Partnership, First Trenitalia is committed to delivering a range of passenger enhancements for InterCity West Coast services and passengers will benefit from more trains, more seats, simplified fares and more frequent services.
“The 56 Pendolino trains will be completely refurbished with 25,000 brand new seats, more reliable Wi-Fi and improved catering. By 2022, there will be 263 more train services every week to more places and a fleet of new trains introduced.
“Fares and ticket types will be simplified with mobile tickets and smartcards introduced. Stations will be improved with refreshed waiting rooms, better customer facilities, more car park spaces, and greater accessibility for those who need it.
“The Partnership will also pave the way for a new era in high speed rail in the UK in the coming years, working with HS2 Ltd and the Department for Transport.”
Last week Virgin Trains released a “goodbye music video”, celebrating 22 years of operation and featuring Sir Richard Branson, staff, and various “celebrities” from over the years including Mr Blobby, Shaun Williamson (Barry from Eastenders) and football presenter Chris Kamara.