Posted: Thu 27th Jul 2023

Chester and Deeside MPs slam Avanti West Coast’s summer service cuts

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Thursday, Jul 27th, 2023

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Samantha Dixon MP for the City of Chester has called on the transport secretary and Avanti West Coast to stop the “hokey cokey” of train services. 

Following a recent announcement that ‘targeted services’ will be cut during the summer, Samantha Dixon has written to the Minister of State for Rail and Avanti West Coast to express her dismay at continued cancellations and the effect this will have on business and tourism in Chester and across the border in North Wales. 

The latest round of cuts, which will affect four trains a day on the North Wales route from the 24th July to the 8th September, coincides with the region’s peak tourism season. 

In her letter Ms Dixon said: 

‘It is very disappointing that services are being cut back over summer and it is evident that despite assurances to the contrary Avanti West Coast still don’t have enough drivers. 

Avanti are playing the “hokey cokey” with us, putting improvements on the table one week and then withdrawing them the next. 

[Samantha Dixon MP for the City of Chester]

Despite any welcome improvements to services in the last few months, they remain nowhere near providing the pre-covid level of services.

She continues:

‘I’ve only been an MP since December last year and it feels like Chester and North Wales are always being targeted when it comes to poor rail services. 

Forgotten when improvements are being made and first in line when it comes to cuts.’

Speaking of the affects this will have on business, Ms Dixon added:

‘Summer is a key time for businesses in Chester and the surrounding area. It’s a time when Chester hopes to see an increase in tourism and leisure visits. This will now be hindered by the service cuts. 

The cuts will cause substantial problems. I am informed that Transport for Wales services are not designed or timetabled to ‘substitute’ for the lack of Avanti’s express services. 

[Alyn and Deeside MP Mark Tami]

Rail users will be deterred from using services. This has serious consequences for Chester’s tourism and business.’ 

The removal of these services will also affect businesses, commuters, and tourism on the other side of the border in North Wales. 

“Avanti West Coast promise the world and deliver nothing,” said Alyn and Deeside MP Mark Tami.

“This announcement is the latest in a long line of disappointments, particularly to be seeing yet more rail replacements between Chester and Wrexham. The people of North East Wales deserve much better, and it’s time for Avanti to step up, or hand the contract to someone who can deliver.”

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