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Avanti West Coast plans to double number of trains that call at Motherwell

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Following approval of plans for a major timetable change, Avanti West Coast is set to transform rail services at Motherwell

The cross-border operator plans to serve Motherwell with an additional 96 services per week – the most significant increase in cross-border rail services for the Scottish town in decades.

Approval of the timetable changes means Avanti West Coast has the capacity to more than double the number of weekday services calling at Motherwell from eight to 20. Weekend services will also be bolstered – with more than six times the number of Sunday services (27) and over three times as many of services on Saturday (19). This will mean that around half the hourly Glasgow-London services and two-hourly Glasgow-Birmingham services can call at the North Lanarkshire town.

The changes will reshape Motherwell into a major calling point on the West Coast main line and one of the best-connected locations in Scotland for cross-border travel, after significant investment by the Scottish Government and ScotRail to make the station a key transport hub.

It is hoped the improved connectivity will help attract investment to the region in the coming years and persuade more passengers to choose train over plane when travelling to London and Birmingham, helping with both Scottish and English governments’ carbon reduction targets.

Avanti West Coast is exploring options to introduce some of the additional stops from December 2020, with the remaining stops being added to the timetable next year, depending on how things develop with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Rail Minister, Chris Heaton-Harris, said: “It’s fantastic that Motherwell will be a major port of call for Avanti West Coast, with a significant increase in the number of services helping improve connectivity, boost the economy and encouraging people to use a greener, more sustainable form of travel between our two nations.

“As we build back better from the pandemic, boosting cross-border connections will be key to helping support, sustain and strengthen our communities as we level up the whole of the UK.”

Bill Reeve, Transport Scotland’s Director of Rail, said: “We are delighted to have worked in partnership with Avanti West Coast to enable a future increase in their cross-border services calling at Motherwell station.

“Our investment in customer facilities and services at this key station increases opportunities for commuters, business users and tourism alike. It also underpins a fast-growing transport hub served by not only ScotRail, Avanti West Coast and other cross-border operators, but also by local operators such as bus.

“At the right time in the future, this additional service provision will enable operators to drive market growth in joined-up journeys. With that we can generate a healthy future for rail across the West Coast and beyond as we seek to recover from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Gus Dunster, Executive Director of Operations at Avanti West Coast, said: “We are excited to make Motherwell one of the best connected places in Scotland, as we work with Network Rail to deliver a major uplift to services to and from the town.

“At Avanti West Coast we want to connect people and places to opportunity and with Motherwell set to become a major calling point on our route we’re sure it will boost Scotland’s regional economy, improve local and cross-border connectivity and encourage more passengers to make the switch from plane to train. We look forward to continuing to play our part in making Motherwell a key transport hub.”