Avanti West Coast suspends ticket sales and reduces Chester to London trains to just one a day
Avanti West Coast has suspended ticket sales and cut Chester to London trains to just one per day each way from next week.
The train operator is introducing a limited timetable due to an “unofficial strike”.
Normally the train operator runs five services from Chester to London Euston and five from London to Chester.
But that is set to change from 14 August until further notice.
Avanti West Coast said, “we will be introducing a reduced timetable on our services.”
“This is due to the current industrial relations climate which has resulted in severe staff shortages in some grades through increased sickness levels, as well as unofficial strike action by ASLEF members.”
“As a result of the above, including the majority of drivers declaring themselves unavailable for overtime, our customers have faced multiple short-notice cancellations on our network which has had a severe impact on their plans.”
Avanti West Coast said the reduced timetable is being introduced to “ensure a reliable service is delivered so our customers can travel with greater certainty.”
“This decision was not taken lightly, and we are sorry for the enormous frustration and inconvenience this will cause.”
The train operator said: “We urge the rail unions to engage in meaningful industry reform talks around modernising working practices and developing a railway fit for the 21st century. We remain open for talks at any time.”
“Whilst the new timetable is finalised, we’ve temporarily suspended ticket sales and closed reservations from 14 August to 11 September – this is to minimise the number of people disrupted. We expect the first week’s tickets to be back on sale towards the end of this week, then the following weeks on a rolling, weekly basis.”
Avanti said it plans to run four trains an hour from London Euston, one to each of Glasgow, Liverpool, Manchester and Birmingham.
There will be a shuttle service between Crewe and Holyhead, plus a limited through service between Euston and Chester of one a day.
“This amended timetable will be in place until further notice, and we will continue to monitor and review the situation.” Avanti said.
Aslef’s general secretary, Mick Whelan, denied that there was any unofficial action, only the strike planned for next Saturday, during which union members would walk out for 24 hours at nine English train operators.
Whelan said of Avanti’s claims: “They are lying. Avanti does not employ enough drivers to run the services they have promised to run. There is no unofficial action. We’re on strike on 13 August.”
- If you’ve already booked to travel with us from 14 August onwards and your train is cancelled, your ticket will be accepted on the Avanti West Coast service before or after your original booked train. Alternatively, you can claim a full, fee-free refund from your point of purchase if you no longer wish to travel due to the amended timetable.
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