A refurbished fleet of first-class Intercity carriages are an unexpected alternative to the troubled Avanti West Coast, as a heritage railway operator has launched a rival service.
Currently just running on Fridays, the new rival operator, Locomotive City, will offer two trips a day, one from Crewe to London, and back from London to Manchester, calling at Birmingham International, Birmingham New Street, Wolverhampton, Stafford, Crewe & Wilmslow.
The fares for the first class only service are a reasonable £75 each way.
For comparison, for a similar trip on Avanti West Coast next Friday, you’d be looking at around £68 for the standard class, and £170 for first class on the same route.
An Intercity Service
On top of the lower fare, the Intercity trains will run at 110 mph using Electric Locomotives, air-conditioned coaches with tables and 240V power points. Two buffet cars are available on board, serving teas, coffees, snacks and alcoholic beverages.
The locomotive is a former British Rail Class 90, that Locomotive City has refurbished.
The heritage company was able to bid for a couple of the vacant slots being left unused on Fridays because Avanti West Coast has a shortage of drivers, which is causing problems running services. They might bid on a few others if this service proves to be popular and other slots are available.
An alternative to Avanti
The heritage train service is not meant to be a trainspotters service though as the company said that it is offering a genuine alternative to Avanti West Coast. That said, the train is likely to have a fair number of train spotters amongst the people trying to get to Manchester for the weekend.
With the problems that Avanti West Coast have been having in recent weeks, anything that helps to get people to their destination is a good thing. However, the alternative is not just cheaper, and also for many people, an upgrade in service, it’s also undeniably a nostalgic moment to see that famous Intercity logo once more.
You can book tickets from here.