Work being carried out by Network Rail to improve the residence of overhead power lines in the Wolverhampton area has resulted in improved connectivity for passengers travelling to and from Blackpool.
The work is to improve the resilience of overhead wires during hot weather, by preventing sagging and so reducing the risk of them coming down, which can result in delays. However, it has meant that power to Alstom’s Oxley depot, where Avanti’s Pendolino train fleet is serviced and stabled, has been turned off for eight weekdays in April 2021 (Monday 19 – Friday 23 April and Monday 26 – Wednesday 28 April).
So, unable to stable them when not required for services, Avanti’s solution has been to keep them running. Five Avanti West Coast services, scheduled to run between Wolverhampton and London Euston each day, have been extended to serve Blackpool North and Crewe.
Gus Dunster, executive director of operations and safety at Avanti West Coast, said: “We are pleased to have worked with Alstom and Network Rail to utilise our trains to provide more connections between the North West, the Midlands and London, while these essential works take place.
“Facilitating the repairs to the overhead wires near Wolverhampton is the latest example of how the industry has collaborated to minimise the impact to people’s journeys, and on this occasion offer additional connectivity for our customers.”
Dave Penney, Network Rail’s Central route director, said: “We’ve worked closely with Avanti West Coast and Alstom so these services can continue to run with the added bonus for passengers of a direct connection to Blackpool from the West Midlands during the work.
“Maintenance like this is carefully planned with our partners and is key to keeping trains moving in the future.”