London to Manchester trains reduced to one per hour

Avanti West Coast, which usually schedules three trains an hour from London Euston to Manchester Piccadilly, will bring in the reduced timetable this week.

Trains from London to Manchester will only run once an hour from today as rail operators cut services with the aim of making their services more reliable.

Avanti West Coast, which usually schedules three trains an hour from London Euston to Manchester Piccadilly, will bring in the reduced timetable this week.

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The change is expected to last until February 25, but will be reviewed weekly.

It comes after around 15 pc of the operator’s services were cancelled during December due to staff shortages caused by the rise of the Omicron variant.

But passenger numbers on these services have dropped to around 40 pc now.

Avanti West Coast regional growth manager Charlie French explained the decision behind the ‘drastic drop’ in services to councillors in Greater Manchester on Friday.

He said: “The passenger numbers are much lower so we are comfortable that one train an hour can accommodate those customers travelling.

“It’s not great news, but it’s the right thing to do, we feel, to give that reliability of service.”

As well as the hourly service from London to Manchester via Stoke, there will be four additional trains each way every day via Crewe calling at Wilmslow.

TransPennine introduced an amended timetable on Monday, January 1, to cope with sickness absence among train crews which is still around 18%.

Passenger numbers have fallen to 51% of pre-pandemic levels, having returned to between 75% and 85% before the latest wave of the virus.