Avanti West Coast will ‘never deliver proper service’, says rail minister

Avanti West Coast struggles with reliability because of “restrictive” trade union agreements, MPs have heard.

Rail minister Huw Merriman said Avanti West Coast will “never be able to deliver a proper service” due to its drivers’ contracts.

Office of Rail and Road figures show the West Coast Main Line operator cancelled 8.1 percent of its services in the four weeks to 3 February.

The cancellation rate for LNER, which runs on the East Coast Main Line, was 5.1 percent over the same period.

Mr Merriman told the Commons’ Transport Select Committee he is “concerned” about the disparity in the operators’ reliability despite them having similar staffing numbers and sickness rates.