Avanti West Coast, the franchise that took over the West Coast Main Line franchise from Virgin in 2019 has released a timelapse video of the refurbishment work on some of its trains.

Earlier last year, they started refurbishing each of their 20 Voyager trains, with the works carried out at Bombardier’s depot in Ilford, East London.

The 20 Voyagers operate over the non-electrified sections of the West Coast Main Line in addition to running from London to Scotland, via the West Midlands. They will remain in service until 2022 when Avanti West Coast will introduce a fleet of 23 new Hitachi Class 805 and 807 trains.

The refresh of the 20 trains includes new Standard Class seats covers and carpets as well as a revamped toilet area. All older lighting has been replaced with more energy-efficient LEDs.

The interior bodyside and ceiling panels in Vestibules, toilets and Standard Class saloons have also been refinished in either paint or vinyl wraps. The door grab handles have been coated with an anti-microbial finish.

Avanti West Coast Senior Project Manager, Adrian Bullock, explained: “This investment has delivered a step change to the Voyager’s onboard environment.”

“It’s given the trains a new lease of life, and they will continue to serve our customers   for the next two years with great distinction.”


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  1. Maurice Reed says:

    All that work to tidy them up only for them to be replaced in less that two years? Surely they must be good for a few years more than that? They cannot be that old or, is it because the are diesel and don’t meet emission standards?

    • Peter says:

      There are open access operators wanting to get them when Avanti hand them back to the leasing companies, so they’ll still be about. Avanti’s replacements will be a mix of bi-mode units, so that trains to Shrewsbury and North Wales can be electric from London to Wolverhampton and Crewe respectively, and electric units, for the few that go between I think London and Glasgow that have wires the whole way, but they use diesel Voyagers due to lack of Pendolinos.

  2. Bob McIntyre says:

    A surface makeover isn’t going to do anything for these awful units. Having travelled regularly on CrossCountry’s 220/221s, I can tell you they’re noisy and cramped; not environmentally friendly either with Avanti running them under the wires, as they do, from Edinburgh to Euston.

    • John Watkins says:

      Wasn’t there a (now abandoned) project to add a pantograph coach so they could go electric under wires as they are diesel-electric?

    • S says:

      Hence why Avanti are procuring new EMU and Bi-Mode sets, so that they don’t have to run diesel under the wires.

  3. Andrew Gwilt says:

    But the Class 221 are soon to be replaced by the Class 805 Hitachi AT300. Which is scheduled to enter service from 2022/23.

  4. Douglas MacRae says:

    I don’t like the 221s that much cos they are too noisy for me

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