It’s all change as new-look trains arrive
THE old red and white livery has all but gone.
Virgin Trains at Manchester Piccadilly, Stockport and Wigan stations will come to the end of their journey after 22 years just before midnight on Saturday.
And this is what the Pendolinos from Piccadilly to London Euston will look like in the future – adorned with a new dark green, white and orange triangle design.
Scotland-based First Group and the UK arm of Italy’s main train operator, Trenitalia, will take over the West Coast Mainline franchise from Virgin under the joint venture First Trenitalia from tomorrow.
Avanti West Coast will be the name of the new franchise
The current fleet of 56 Pendolino trains will be refurbished by Avanti West Coast, a process that is already well underway.
The refurbished Pendolinos are set to be reintroduced to the line in due time – but the M.E.N. can reveal one is expected at Manchester Piccadilly on Monday, the first working day of the franchise.
Manchester, however, is set to miss out on Japanese-style, 125mph ‘bullet’ trains.
Avanti West Coast announced that a £350m contract to build and maintain 23 new intercity trains – a total of 135 carriages – has been awarded to Hitachi Rail.
They should start to operate in 2022. The trains will be a mix of 10, sevencarriage electric trains and 13, five-carriage bi-mode trains, capable of switching between electric and diesel.
The electric trains will operate between London, the West Midlands and Liverpool while the bi-mode trains will run between London and North Wales, where the railway isn’t electrified.
The 125mph trains will ‘draw from Japanese bullet train heritage’ and replace the outdated diesel Voyager trains.
But it’s expected, certainly at first, that they will only serve the west side of the line, with Manchester being served by the Pendolinos.
Avanti has promised 25,000 new seats on the Pendolinos, more reliable Wi-Fi and improved catering.
By 2022, said the franchise, there would be 263 more train services every week. The new ‘bullet’ trains will be built at Hitachi’s factory in County Durham, in what is a huge boost for the North East.
A party at Piccadilly meanwhile is being planned to say goodbye to Virgin Trains.
The Piccadilly Rats band have been booked in to play in the first-class lounge - and staff will wave off the last departing train and welcome the last arriving train.
The last Virgin Pendolino will leave Piccadilly bound for London Euston at 8.35pm. And at 11.39pm, the last Virgin arrival from Euston should arrive at Piccadilly.
The new Pendolino train
Work on a new train