Train Drivers Slam Avanti's Latest Service Cuts

ASLEF, the train drivers’ trade union, has slammed the train operator Avanti West Coast after the company said it will slash its services between London and other major cities in Britain during the Christmas period.

ASLEF said the company’s claim that the move is the result of ‘annual staff annual leave’, as the company irresponsibly claims, is nonsense.

The cuts to services at one of the busiest periods of the year are just the latest in a long line of disappointments felt by passengers who travel with a company whose name has become a byword for poor service.

Mick Whelan, ASLEF’s general secretary, condemning the cuts to services, said: ‘Avanti West Coast has consistently let down rail staff and the great British public and the announcement that they will now cut services during the festive period is a shameful gift to give passengers this Christmas.

‘ASLEF has been warning for some time that the company has been trying to run its service on the West Coast main line on the cheap. Not employing enough drivers to deliver the services it has promised passengers – and the government – it will run has left crucial services understaffed and undervalued and it is the passengers, once again, who are going to pay the price.

‘The consistent failures by Avanti West Coast mean it should be nowhere near our railway network. Instead of handing the company a bumper contract extension a few weeks ago the Tory government should have been getting a grip on the company and getting our railways back on track like the public deserve.

‘What is the government’s response to this announcement? Where’s Wally – Transport Secretary Mark Harper – when passengers need him?’