Avanti West Coast has a fleet of 56 Pendolino units which are up to 20 years old.

They were originally ordered during the time Virgin Trains held the West Coast Main Line (WCML) franchise.

The good news is that renovations have started at a cost of £117 million.

The first of the ‘new’ units is expected to enter service in late 2021, with a completion date for all units of February 2024.

More information can be found on this You Tube video:

In the past Virgin Trains ordered its Pendolinos with too many first class seats – Avanti wants to raise overall capacity by removing one first class carriage on the 11-car Pendolinos and replacing it with standard.

It means the number of standard seats on an 11-car unit will increase from 444 to 508.

Some of the first class capacity is expected to be used for Avanti’s ‘premium economy’ on which we reported last May.

Avanti West Coast launches ‘premium economy’

Says Avanti West Coast’s MD, Phil Whittingham,

“This investment will take them [the Pendolino units] to the next level and they’ll feel like new trains with state-of-the-art technology and brand new seats.”

Pendolino units operate Avanti’s main services between London Euston and Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, Glasgow and Edinburgh (via the WCML).

The news comes as Avanti has announced plans to make severe cutbacks on two of its most important routes effective today (July 26), owing to train crew shortage.

It means that there will only be an hourly direct service between London, Birmingham and Manchester during the day.

In the days before Covid there would be as many as three trains an hour on both routes.

Full details are displayed on Avanti’s website along with any alternative operators and routings.