Press releases

Rail regulator calls for improvement after Avanti’s timetable recovery plan stalls

24 January 2023
Passengers attempting to access timetable information and book tickets for Avanti West Coast services have faced frustrating and enduring problems in recent months.
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Avanti West Cpast

The Office of Rail and Road has today written to Avanti calling for significant improvements to its recovery plan for releasing timetables to passengers ahead of travel.    

Despite Avanti initially making reasonable progress against their September 2022 plan and increasing notice for passengers to book travel in the lead up to Christmas, the position has deteriorated in 2023.  

For weekends in January, passengers have only been able to book tickets at a few days’ notice.  

Avanti’s current plans for February show a better picture for weekday travel, but still fall short of passengers’ needs for weekend journeys. 

Under Avanti’s passenger information licence requirement, ORR has asked Avanti to submit an improved recovery plan for timetable production by 2 February 2023.   

Stephanie Tobyn, Director of Strategy, Policy and Reform at ORR said:

“Passengers are rightly frustrated that this situation has deteriorated so quickly after a steady start to the recovery plan late last year. 

“By 2 February we expect Avanti to identify what has gone wrong and set out  how it intends to get back to releasing timetables in normal industry timescales so that passengers can plan and book journeys with greater confidence”.

“Failure to produce an acceptable plan or to deliver improvements may lead to more formal measures.”

Notes to Editors:

  1. Avanti letter
  2. Passenger information licence conditions
  3. Railway timetables generally are still recovering from the pandemic. The industry aims to introduce a new timetable planning process. Implementation of the new process will however require changes to the railway Network Code.
  4. Network Rail is responsible for coordinating and validating timetables for the national rail network. Each train and freight operating company develops the timetable they would like to run in their area, and Network Rail then coordinates all the different timetables to produce a single national rail timetable. 
  5. Network Rail currently updates the timetable for the national rail network twice a year, in May and December. This allows train and freight operating companies a regular opportunity to make changes to their services – run more or new services, change the timing of their services, and/or change their routes. 
  6. The Office of Rail and Road is the economic and safety regulator of Britain’s railway. ORR also holds National Highways to account for its performance and efficiency.
  7. Our passenger facing work derives from the licences we issue to train and station operators, including Network Rail for its managed stations, and from our powers and responsibilities under consumer and competition law.