Old-fashioned trains with swing doors will be put back into service to ferry thousands to Queen Elizabeth’s funeral

Old-fashioned trains with swing doors will be put back into service to ferry thousands to Queen Elizabeth’s funeral

slam the trains

slam the trains

The government is ready to step in and hire trains for the first time since British Rail to allow thousands of Northern supporters to pay their respects to Queen Elizabeth.

Whitehall officials on Thursday were putting the finishing touches on a plan to charter a daily service to London following a backlash against the company operating rail services on the West Coast Main Line.

And in a nod to the nationalized former British Rail operator, the service will boast carriages with old-fashioned swing doors, according to industry sources.

For the first time in its history, Network Rail, the public body that owns stations, platforms and signaling booths, will be responsible for hiring the service from the Cairnforth-based specialist West Coast Railways (WCR).

The unprecedented intervention comes after The Telegraph revealed earlier this week that crisis-stricken west coast rail operator Avanti was struggling to schedule extra train services for the weekend amid a long row with unions. .

The disclosure prompted Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, to express “serious concerns about the ability of the Avanti West Coast to support people wishing to travel between the North West and London in the coming days to pay tribute to Her late Majesty the Queen. Elizabeth II “.

Industry sources said that although Avanti subsequently agreed with a specialized railway company – Locomotive Services Limited (LSL) – to run an extra daily service before the funeral, the talks with WCR failed, prompting Network Rail to intervene.

The WCR was unable to meet Avanti’s safety requirements in relation to slamming doors, the sources added. However, the Cairnforth-based charter company was able to meet Network Rail’s requirements. “Rules are more of an art form than a science,” said one expert in discussions.

A daily WCR service is scheduled by Lancaster and Preston to the capital, carrying around 500 additional passengers per day according to plans to be finalized Thursday evening, the sources said. The LSL service, meanwhile, will operate between Manchester and London in the Avanti livery.

A spokesperson for Avanti said: “On Thursday we began operating four charter services per day between Manchester and London to provide additional capacity. Initially these are operated as rescue trains, helping to spread customer demand, but as we continue to analyze booking patterns we will move them to the times they are most needed and customers will be able to purchase tickets for them. ”

Avanti was forced to cut trains from three to one trains per hour between Manchester and London earlier this summer with ministers warning that the line may need to be nationalized if service levels do not improve.

Chief Executive Phil Whittingham was forced to resign after accusing the Aslef drivers union of launching “an unofficial strike action”.

Rail operators across the UK said on Monday they would be performing extra services to allow around 750,000 mourners to travel to London in the coming days, with The Telegraph revealing that some companies are planning to run overnight services.

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