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Avanti West Coast introduce social distancing measures

Avanti West Coast introduce social distancing measures
On May 14, nine-car Pendolino No. 390008 passes the Daventry International Rail Freight Terminal with the 10.15 Manchester Piccadilly-Euston train, diverted via Northampton because of engineering work on the direct route via Kilsby Tunnel. Photo: Chris Milner

Rail passengers have been told not to turn up at stations without an advance ticket and to wear face coverings when travelling on the West Coast Mainline.

Avanti West Coast has asked its customers to only travel with a reservation, in order to help limit the number of people on each train.

The new system has been introduced to help social distancing, ensuring the safety of customers and staff travelling on services.

Customers are also being asked to use public transport if they have no alternative way to travel and only if necessary.

Those without a reservation may not be able to board the service they want if the number of passengers reaches around a quarter of the train’s normal capacity.

The measures are being brought in following updated travel advice from Government, and ahead of a new timetable on Monday 18 May.

It means Avanti West Coast can free up services for those who need them most. 

Customers should also:

  • Check before they travel in case the time of their train has changed.
  • Wear a face covering in line with Government advice.
  • Book in advance on the Avanti app where possible, to avoid using facilities at the station or handling cash.

Phil Whittingham, Managing Director of Avanti West Coast, said: “We’re appealing to our valued customers to help us and other passengers by only travelling with a reservation. If everyone does this, we’ll be able to keep social distancing in place on board, both for our customers and our people.

“If customers do turn up without a reservation, we’ll do our best to help but we can’t guarantee they’ll be able to take the train they want.”

Avanti West Coast has brought in a series of additional measures to help keep services safe for customers, including face-masks for staff, enhanced cleaning regimes and closing of waiting rooms / lounges.

On an 11 car Pendolino, the 20% occupancy means around 110 seats can be used. 75% of these will be available to book online, with the remainder to cover for expected walk up rates.

Avanti admits it is not the perfect solution but says it will be keeping an eye on loadings.

Finally, Avanti is reinforcing the ‘only travel by train if there’s no other alternative’ message.

Timetables from May 18 are available to view at

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