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West Coast Partnership contract extension announced

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FirstGroup plc has agreed with the Department for Transport (DfT) to extend the current arrangements for the West Coast Partnership (WCP) rail contract.

The current arrangements for WCP were previously set to expire on 31 March 2023 and will now run until 15 October 2023 under broadly the same terms and conditions. The WCP rail contract comprises operation of Avanti West Coast and West Coast Partnership Development, which acts as the shadow operator to the HS2 programme. Discussions are ongoing with DfT regarding the longer-term National Rail Contract for WCP.

Commenting, Graham Sutherland, FirstGroup chief executive officer said: “We are working closely with government and our partners across the industry to deliver a successful railway for our customers and communities.

“Performance at Avanti is steadily improving and since the introduction of the new timetable in mid-December, the number of services operated has increased by more than 40% compared to last summer, with more seats and better frequencies. Today’s agreement allows our team to continue their focus on delivering their robust plans to continue enhancing services for our customers, including further progress on our train upgrade and refurbishment programme.”

Image credit: Avanti West Coast

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