Mayors and council leaders told the manager of the rail operator that they have ‘lost confidence’ in their services.

Avanti train liverpool
Avanti West Coast train

The decision comes just six months after the Government awarded Avanti a new contract to continue running their services, despite a poor track record.

Liverpool City Region Mayor Steve Rotherham was among the Northern leaders who made the decision at a Transport for the North board meeting on Wednesday.

Avanti West Coast, who run lines between London and Liverpool, Manchester, Wales and Scotland has come under fire for cancellations and delays

Steve Montgomery, managing director at First Rail which owns Avanti, has apologised for the increase in cancellations, before saying: “First Group has not done anything wrong.”

The northern mayors weren’t convinced however.

Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham said: “First group has not done anything wrong? I’m sorry, you’re in denial.”

He added: ”Your company has inflicted huge damage on our economy for coming up to two years now since the timetable collapsed in 2022”

The board has called on the Government to terminate Avanti’s contract at the ‘earliest possible opportunity’.

It is now up to the Government to decide whether their services are brought under public ownership.

Mick Lynch, General Secretary of rail union RMT, said: “We welcome Transport for the North’s decision. This would be the right move for the North, for the country as a whole and for the workforce at Avanti. The government must now act.”


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