Avanti West Coast warns Wigan customers to only make necessary journeys during strike action

Avanti West Coast is strongly advising passengers to only travel if absolutely necessary ahead of two further strikes this week.
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Co-ordinated industrial action by the RMT across train operators and Network Rail will see staff walk out on Thursday and Saturday, resulting in severe disruption to rail services.

Members of the TSSA union at Avanti West Coast will also be striking.

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The intercity operator, which has routes servicing Wigan, will run a limited service with trains due to start later and finish much earlier than usual.

Avanti West Coast will be operating limited servicesAvanti West Coast will be operating limited services
Avanti West Coast will be operating limited services

Customers are being strongly advised to check the times of the last services.

The days after industrial action will also be affected with services expected to start later.

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Managing director of Avanti West Coast Phil Whittingham said: “We’re strongly advising customers to only travel where absolutely necessary on our route during the strike and instead make their journeys on alternative days or claim a full refund.

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"We understand some people will have no choice but to travel and they should check our website for the latest updates before making their journey.”

Avanti West Coast is running one train per hour between Euston and each of Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham and Preston with a limited service to Glasgow.

These trains will operate during limited hours – with the first train of the day departing Euston just before 8am and the last train of the day from Euston scheduled to leave mid-afternoon.

The significantly reduced timetable will mean north Wales, Shrewsbury, Blackpool and Edinburgh will have no Avanti West Coast services on the strike days.

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Tim Shoveller, Network Rail's north-west and central region managing director, said: “We’ll run as many services as we can, across the network, on Thursday and Saturday, but it will only be around a fifth of the usual timetable, so please only travel if absolutely necessary and if you must travel, plan ahead and check when your last train will be.”

Meanwhile, Labour has urged the Transport Secretary to “wake up and put passengers and the public first” as service cancellations by Avanti West Coast caused widespread disruption.

Last week the operator slashed the number of trains connecting London and major cities along the West Coast Mainline to just four per hour, with services cut by two-thirds between London and Manchester.

Shadow Transport Secretary Louise Haigh called on ministers to urgently demand a plan from the operator for the full restoration of services, get back taxpayers’ money for services that are not running and, if an urgent plan to restore services is not put in place, she urged ministers to begin the process of withdrawing the contract.

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She said: “This fiasco is causing real damage to the regional economy, passengers and the public.

"This hapless Government cannot continue to wash their hands of responsibility, blame anyone but themselves and reward failure without consequences.

“It’s time ministers put passengers first.

“They should demand a plan from the operator to urgently restore these services, claw back taxpayers' money being handed over for services that aren’t running, and if the private operator cannot fulfil their contract, they have no business holding it.”