Press releases

Rail regulator welcomes improved timetable recovery plan from Avanti

10 February 2023
The Office of Rail and Road has secured key improvements to how Avanti passengers plan and book their journeys.
Cover Image
Avanti West Cpast

This follows a call from the rail regulator for immediate improvement to Avanti’s timetable recovery plan, after its initial improvements stalled. This meant weekend timetables were only being finalised a few days in advance, making it difficult for passengers to plan and book with confidence. 

Avanti’s more resilient recovery plan shows a pathway to full and sustained recovery to producing and finalising timetables in line with current industry norms by mid-May.  

The regulator recognises that significant engineering work on the West Coast Mainline in March and April adds complexity and risk to the plan, and has impacted on recovery timescales.

Avanti has also published on its website the dates for when tickets are to be released for sale, in an important step to improving information for passengers.

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

“Now that Avanti has established an improved recovery plan, the onus is on them to deliver.    

“It is positive to see some early improvements to passenger information, in particular the publication of dates when tickets are to be released to passengers.  

“This early momentum needs to  be sustained and we will closely monitor delivery on a weekly basis”.

Notes to Editors

  1. Avanti letter
  2. For dates when Avanti plan to release tickets, visit their website: Train Timetables | Train Schedule | Avanti West Coast
  3. Railway timetables generally are still recovering from the pandemic. The industry aims to introduce a new timetable planning process which is unlikely to return to confirming the timetable 12 weeks in advance. 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. It 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 “Informed Traveller” process then allows the long term timetable to be changed to accommodate special events and engineering works. Once agreed between operators and Network Rail the timetable is updated. These changes are currently being made at 6-8 weeks ahead of travel
  7. 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.
  8. 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.