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Avanti West Coast

If you're travelling from Glasgow, the North West, North Wales and the West Midlands to London, then you're likely to be taking a trip with Avanti West Coast.

Who are Avanti West Coast?

After many years of the famous Virgin brand on the West Coast Mainline, Avanti West Coast took over the reins for the route in 2019. They have a fleet of 74 trains, which is made up of 56 Pendolino sets and 18 Super Voyagers. The Super Voyagers will soon by replaced by a fleet of Hitachi-built trains.

As Avanti West Coast are the main long-distance operator on the West Coast Mainline, you might struggle to find a cheap ticket on some routes. If you’re travelling from Liverpool, Crewe or Birmingham to London, you might have better luck with West Midlands Trains.

On some routes though, you can still bag a bargain. For example, the Edinburgh to London via Birmingham service is a fairly slow option, but it can have the edge on cost over the ‘traditional’ route down the East Coast Mainline. Here’s an example:

peak london to edinburgh train fares on railsmartr site

As you can see, you have two options arriving at the same time. This is because you can either take the slower (but direct) train, or you can take a faster train that bypasses Birmingham, then pick up the slower train in Carlisle instead.

It’s not always guaranteed that these Avanti West Coast tickets will be cheaper than LNER or Lumo, but peak times tend to be a good bet (when fares via the East Coast tend to be a lot higher).

On board services

Luggage

Luggage storage is available on all trains. ‘Pendolino’ trains have more extensive space available with multiple floor-to-ceiling racks per carriage.

Food & Drink

You’ll find a shop on every train selling drinks, snacks and sandwiches.

WIFI

Free WiFi on all trains in both 1st and Standard Class.

Travel with children

Table seating is available on all trains in every carriage. Coaches D and K are recommended on Super Voyager trains where seats and tables are larger.

Bikes

All trains accept bikes with a printed reservation. Bikes are stored in the cycle area in Coach A. You can book in at a station ticket office or call 0345 528 0253. There’s more information in our dedicated guide to travelling with bikes.

Pets

Up to two dogs, cats or other small domestic animals can travel free in both Standard and First Class.

Special Assistance

You can find out more about Passenger Assist on our dedicated page.

Standard Class

Standard Class has seats in a 2+2 layout, while Standard Premium and First are in a 2+1 layout. At the moment, Avanti West Coast are refurbishing their trains, too. Trains that haven’t been refurbished only have sockets at table seats in Standard Class, while refurbished trains have access to sockets at every seat.

 

Can you travel in First Class?

Unusually, you can pick from two options on Avanti West Coast. You can choose between either Standard Premium or First Class! Both sets of carriages look almost the same, though.

All window seats have access to a power socket on unrefurbished trains (there are more on a refurbished train).

In Standard Premium, you don’t get anything extra (such as food and drink), so you’d still need to go to the shop to pick up anything to eat. However, you’re free to upgrade on board. Simply take a seat and the Train Manager will upgrade you. It’s a fee of between £12.50 and £30.

First Class includes at-seat service and complimentary food and drink. However, we’d only recommend it on a weekday. This is because only Coach K is designated as First Class on a weekend, which has a small number of seats. This means that First Class can end up busier than any other class! We’ve done the legwork though and gone to see the difference for ourselves. You can read more with our guide to Standard Premium vs First Class.

Information about routes

Avanti West Coast serves 46 stations and runs 16 of them. Here are their main routes:

  • Glasgow Central – London Euston
  • Edinburgh – Birmingham New Street – London Euston
  • Birmingham New Street – London Euston
  • Manchester Piccadilly – London Euston (via Crewe or Stoke-on-Trent)
  • Liverpool Lime Street – London Euston
  • Holyhead – Chester – London Euston.

Their trains also serve Shrewsbury, Wrexham General and Blackpool North. Some trains run from Glasgow to London via Birmingham, too.

Fun Facts

Did you know that Avanti West Coast have the only tilting trains in Great Britain? The Pendolino trains tilt at up to eight degrees so that they can travel at faster speeds around the curviest parts of the network. The Super Voyager trains are also able to tilt at up to six degrees.