It’s all change as new-look trains ar­rive

Manchester Evening News - - NEWS - Paul.brit­[email protected] @PaulBrit­tonMEN

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

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.