16 DECEMBER 2019
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Plans to introduce a Premium Economy class to the West Coast Main Line along with other improvements were announced by new operator Avanti last week as it completed the takeover of services from Virgin Trains.
Managing director Phil Whittingham said it was likely to be introduced once the Pendolino carriages the firm inherited from Virgin Trains are refurbished. The first revamped train is expected to return to service by early next autumn. No fare has been announced.
Whittingham added passengers in Premium Economy could be entitled to "the bigger seat, better wi-fi and snacks”, but not a meal.
Avanti, a partnership between FirstGroup and Trenitalia, said the 56 Pendolino trains would be completely refurbished to as-new condition, with 25,000 new seats, more reliable wi-fi and power sockets for all passengers.
By 2022, the company added, there will be 263 extra train services a week to more places, a fleet of new, state-of-the-art intercity trains replacing the current Voyagers plus simplified fares and improved on-board catering and delay compensation.
First Trenitalia has awarded a contract worth more than £350m to Hitachi Rail to provide and maintain the 23 new trains, which will be built at the Hitachi factory in County Durham and start operating in 2022.
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