Motherwell in Lanarkshire, Scotland, could be a big winner when the new train timetable comes into force in December after Avanti West Coast obtained approval to introduce an additional 96 services a week, more than doubling the number of weekday services from eight to 20.
Weekend services could also planned be bolstered – with more than six times the number of Sunday services (27) and over three times as many of services on Saturday (19). This could mean that around half the hourly Glasgow-London services and two-hourly Glasgow-Birmingham services will call at the North Lanarkshire town.
Depending on how things develop with the COVID-19 pandemic, Avanti West Coast is exploring options to introduce some of the additional stops from December 2020, with the remaining stops being added to the timetable next year.
The changes will make Motherwell a major calling point on the West Coast main line and one of the best-connected locations in Scotland for cross-border travel. It is hoped the improved connectivity will help attract investment to the region in the coming years and persuade more passengers to choose train over plane when travelling to London and Birmingham, helping with both the Scottish and UK Governments’ carbon reduction targets.
The uplift in services was planned by Avanti West Coast after taking over intercity passenger services on the West Coast Main Line last December and will be delivered in partnership with Network Rail, as part of the industry’s timetable changes that take place every May and December.
Rail Minister Chris Heaton-Harris said: “It’s fantastic that Motherwell will be a major port of call for Avanti West Coast, with a significant increase in the number of services helping improve connectivity, boost the economy and encouraging people to use a greener, more sustainable form of travel between our two nations.
“As we build back better from the pandemic, boosting cross-border connections will be key to helping support, sustain and strengthen our communities as we level up the whole of the UK.”
Bill Reeve, Transport Scotland’s Director of Rail, said: “We are delighted to have worked in partnership with Avanti West Coast to enable a future increase in their cross-border services calling at Motherwell station.
“Our investment in customer facilities and services at this key station increases opportunities for commuters, business users and tourism alike. It also underpins a fast-growing transport hub served by not only ScotRail, Avanti West Coast and other cross-border operators, but also by local operators such as bus.
“At the right time in the future, this additional service provision will enable operators to drive market growth in joined-up journeys. With that we can generate a healthy future for rail across the West Coast and beyond as we seek to recover from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.”