Wales

Avanti West Coast promises more trains between Holyhead and London

Avanti train Image copyright Avanti West Coast
Image caption Avanti West Coast has taken over from Virgin Trains as the operator of the West Coast Main Line

The new operator of West Coast Main Line rail services has launched, promising greener trains and more frequent services in Wales.

Avanti West Coast took over the route from Virgin Trains on 8 December.

During its official launch in Wrexham on Thursday, the operator promised there would be more trains between Holyhead and London.

The operator's parent company is a partnership between Aberdeen-based firm FirstGroup and Italy's Trenitalia.

Avanti West Coast replaces Virgin Trains, which was Britain's longest-running rail franchise after 22 years of service.

Steve Montgomery, chief executive of FirstGroup, said: "We are going to see a lot of investment in new trains, with £350m being spent and 13 of those will work into Wales, they'll be electrical-diesel trains so very much more environmentally friendly and that will allow us to put additional services in place."

Image caption A model of one of the new eco-friendly trains, which are expected to launch in 2022

The new trains, which Avanti West Coast promises will include better wi-fi and catering, are expected to enter into service in 2022, and the existing fleet of Pendolino trains will be refurbished.

The Holyhead to London Euston route also serves Bangor, Colwyn Bay, Llandudno Junction, Prestatyn and Rhyl.

There will be an additional service from Llandudno to London starting this month.

'Hugely important'

Welsh Language provision is also due to be enhanced on those services and a new direct train from Gobowen, via Wrexham, to London Euston will begin in 2022.

Minister for Economy and Transport Ken Skates said it was "excellent" news for north Wales.

"It will ensure passengers have better comfort when they are travelling from north Wales to London, the Midlands and other parts of the UK.

"It's a hugely important franchise agreement for north Wales."

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