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Travel On Train Avanti Pendolino (UK)
All that's good to know about travelling on an Avanti West Coast Pendolino

Avanti Pendolino (UK)

These fast trains tilting trains connect London with Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, Glasgow and The Lake District.

Avanti West Coast has taken over from Virgin as the operator of these trains and as a result all of these trains will be refurbished internally in a program of works, which will last until 2024.
So for the time being the interiors of these trains look pretty much as they did when Virgin operated them; and then over the next few years a mix of refreshed and non-refurbished seating saloons will be available.

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At a Glance

Travel Pass Supplement

Rail Pass Reservation Fees
Reservations

Available
Time of Day

Day
Catering

Food services available

Bistro (bar food and take away meals)
Accessibility

Accessing the train

Wheelchair Spaces
Bikes Allowed
Train Specification

Attributes of the train

Has a Conductor
Country

Which country these trains operate in.

Great Britain
Travel Comforts

WiFi
Travel Passes
Eurail

On Board

First

Perks
WiFi

A complimentary WiFi portal is available throughout this train.

At Seat Catering

According to the time of day of travel, passengers will be able to choose from a menu of catering options, which will then be served at their seats.

Power Socket (UK)

The power sockets on this train are compatible with the standard 3-point plugs as typically used in the UK.

All First Class seats have tables All First Class seats have tables
A First Class seating saloon, note the 1 + 2 formation across the aisle A First Class seating saloon, note the 1 + 2 formation across the aisle

At seat complimentary catering service

If you won’t be making a short-distance journey* complimentary food and drink is served to first class passengers at their seats.
*this service is always available when traveling to/from London

What you’ll receive depends on the day of the week - and on Mon-Friday, it also matters at which time you’ll be travelling.
On early morning Mon-Friday departures breakfast is available, but later in the mornings the 'Rest Of The Day' menu becomes available along with a selection of sandwiches and snacks.
The switch over between these two menus seems to occur between 08:30 and 09:00.

The 'Rest Of The Day menu is then available for lunch and for evening meals, but between these offerings an 'afternoon tea' will also be available.
The departure time and not the length of journey will dictate what you will be provided with, because the menu is usually served between 30 mins and an hour after departure.

The Weekend menu is similar to what’s available from the Standard Class catering trolley, but with the key difference being that what you are offered in First Class will be complimentary.
This weekend menu is also available when Mondays and Fridays are national holidays, with the exception that a limited version of the Brunch Menu will also be available.

Station Lounge Access

Only First Class ticket holders can access the Avanti lounges which are available at these stations; Birmingham International, Birmingham New Street, Crewe, Glasgow Central, London Euston, Liverpool Lime Street, Manchester Piccadilly and Runcorn.
In the lounges complimentary drinks and snacks will be available.

Comparison with Standard Premium Class

For the time being, until Avanti begins the refurbishment program of the interiors of the Pendolino trains, there is no difference between the seating saloons of the First Class and Standard Premium coaches; same seats, all seats with tables etc.
Then when the refurbishment program begins in November 2021, on the trains which will be awaiting their new interiors, this situation will persist.

Therefore the difference between First Class and Standard Premium Class is often:

  • the complimentary catering
  • the access to the the First Class lounges at stations
    So if you will be boarding at a station which doesn't have a lounge, the only additional First Class benefits on a non-refurbished train can be the complimentary catering.

Avanti West Coast has released a video of newly refurbished First Class seating saloons which are now entering service.

Standard Premium

Perks
WiFi

A complimentary WiFi portal is available throughout this train.

At Seat Catering

When travelling in Standard Premier you will be invited to download the Avanti West Coast app, so that you can use the At Seat Order service. In effect you can order the items available in the on board bistro/bar and have them delivered to your seat, but you will pay for your items within the app.

Power Socket (UK)

The power sockets on this train are compatible with the standard 3-point plugs as typically used in the UK.

The seats in Standard Premier are also used in First Class The seats in Standard Premier are also used in First Class
The Standard Premium seating saloon The Standard Premium seating saloon
Standard Premium also has the same additional luggage space as First Class Standard Premium also has the same additional luggage space as First Class

Avanti is using what had been First Class coaches for its new Standard Premium service, so the info on the exterior of the trains and on departure boards, doesn't yet use the 'Standard Premuim' branding.

Standard

Perks
WiFi

A complimentary WiFi portal is available throughout this train.

Trolley Service:

A catering trolley with hot and cold drinks and snacks should be taken through the train at some point during its journey.

Power Socket (UK)

The power sockets on this train are compatible with the standard 3-point plugs as typically used in the UK.

Note that seats are 2+2 across the aisle Note that seats are 2+2 across the aisle

On virtually all departures at some point during the journey a catering trolley will be taken through the train, from which you can order hot/cold drinks, snacks and sandwiches at your seat.

Avanti West Coast have released a video showcasing the newly refurbed Standard Class interiors which are now entering service.

A train with the full exterior Avanti branding has arrived in Penrith A train with the full exterior Avanti branding has arrived in Penrith
An Avanti West Coast Pendolino at Euston station An Avanti West Coast Pendolino at Euston station
The new Avanti West Coast colour scheme which has been applied to the exterior of most of the trains The new Avanti West Coast colour scheme which has been applied to the exterior of most of the trains

These tilting Pendolino trains travel at up to 125 miles per hour (200 km/h), the tilting motion can be particularly noticeable when travelling to/from Scotland, the railway line twists and turns as it passes through the more spectacular scenery.

Routes:

These trains operate all Avanti West Coast services on these routes:

  • London Euston <> Manchester via Stoke or Crewe
  • London Euston <> Liverpool
  • London Euston <> Glasgow via Preston and Carlisle
  • London Euston <> Birmingham via Coventry (Avanti Super Voyager trains are used on some services which travel beyond Birmingham.)

They also operate most of the services on this route:
London Euston <> Edinburgh or Glasgow via Coventry, Birmingham, Wolverhampton, Preston and Carlisle.

Reservations:

In all coaches of the train, these displays above the windows show whether a seat is reserved or available In all coaches of the train, these displays above the windows show whether a seat is reserved or available

Seat reservations are available, but not mandatory when travelling on Avanti Pendolino services:

When booking tickets, including any journey using Advance tickets, reservations will also be issued which show specific coach and seat numbers.

Rail pass users can either opt to board without reservations, or arrange reservations prior to boarding, either at an Advance Travel desk in a station at least an before departure, or by contacting Avanti's social media channels.
There is no charge to rail pass users for booking an optional reservation.

Coach C in Standard Class is usually set aside for travellers who haven’t made reservations.
ShowMeTheJourney has made multiple journeys by Pendolino trains, on which the coach in which our reserved seats were allocated was busy, while coach C was comparatively quiet.

Worth knowing is that for your travel ticket to be valid, you don’t have to occupy the seat(s) you will be assigned* when booking online.
So if for any reason you want to travel in a different seat, you can do so.
As long as you check that the alternative seat(s) you want to move to haven’t been reserved, so will be available for your journey.

*= Advance tickets can only be used on the departure selected when booking, but the departure info is on the reservation, so it shows the conductor that you are in fact traveling by the departure you selected.

Using the seating plans:

When using the Avanti West Coast ticket booking system you can choose a type of seat preference, window or aisle etc, but two screens later, after you have chosen a delivery option, you will see a screen which shows the allocated seat numbers and also has a 'seat picker' button.
ShowMeTheJourney's recommendation is to click this seat picker button, as you can use it to see the location of your assigned seat and whether is is facing forward.
When two people are travelling together it's particularly worth checking whether you have been placed adjacent to each other.
You can then select alternative available places on the seating plan.

Boarding:

The info by the doors shows the coach number and which seat numbers can be easily accessed The info by the doors shows the coach number and which seat numbers can be easily accessed

If you have a seat reservation:

At London Euston and the stations in Edinburgh, Glasgow Liverpool and Manchester where these Avanti Pendolino trains commence their journeys, the number of the platform (track) that a specific departure will be leaving from, normally appears on the information screens 10 -15 minutes prior to departure.
This will signal the start of a race to board the train, join the throng if you have luggage, the space for storing luggage isn’t particularly generous, especially in Standard Class.

However, if you don’t have luggage, but do have a reservation, you can take your time as your seat(s) will be waiting for you to occupy them.

If you will be boarding at a station, where the train will be calling during a journey, there are now usually signs on the platform (track), which will show you where to wait for easy boarding into each coach/carriage.

Don’t just check the coach/carriage numbers by the doors, also check the seat number info that’s on the outside of the train.
All coaches will have two doors, one at each end, and the other door may be nearer to your seat.

You don’t have to occupy the seat(s) you will assigned when booking online, so you check that the alternative seat(s) you want to move to haven’t been reserved, so will be available for your journey.
When you enter the coach/carriage check to see what other seats are free - the seat availability info can be checked on the electronic strip above the windows.
The text on the green panels between the numbers shows if a seat is available

If you don’t have heavy luggage, after departure it can be worth having a walk through the train, to see what seats are available in other coaches.
It’s not unknown for some of the coaches on the train to relatively full while others will be comparatively empty.
Coach C in Standard Class is usually set aside for travellers who haven’t made reservations.
ShowMeTheJourney has made multiple journeys by Pendolino trains, on which the coach in which our reserved seats were allocated was busy, while coach C was comparatively quiet.

If you don’t have a seat reservation:

Coach C is usually set aside for travellers who haven’t made seat reservations, but there is something else worth being aware of if you don’t have reservations.

On the main departure screens at the larger stations, at the foot of the information for each train (below its list of calling points), you should be able to see something which resembles a table/chart.
This info will show which of the coaches on the train will be busy, because most of its seats have been reserved, and which will be relatively empty.
So if you don’t have a reservation, you can board into the coach in which you’ll be most likely to find available seats.

Catering:

Standard Class:

On virtually all departures at some point during the journey a catering trolley will be taken through the train, from which you can order hot/cold drinks, snacks and sandwiches at your seat.

There is also an on-board café from which you can order hot food and a more extensive range of food/drink items.

First Class:

If you won’t be making a short-distance journey* complimentary food and drink is served to first class passengers at their seats – *this service is always available when traveling to/from London

The service can be excellent value for money, although what you’ll receive depends on the day of the week - and on Mon-Friday, it also matters at which time you’ll be travelling.
On early morning Mon-Friday departures breakfast is available, but later in the mornings the less-extensive brunch menu is served.
The switch over between these two menus seems to occur between 08:30 and 09:00.

On later Mon-Friday departures, a lunch menu with no hot food options is available in the middle of the day, while a more extensive choice with multiple hot food options is available in the late afternoon and evenings.
The departure time and not the length of journey will dictate what you will be provided with, because the menu is usually served between 30 mins and an hour after departure.

The Weekend menu is similar to what’s available from the Standard Class catering trolley, but with the key difference being that what you are offered in First Class will be complimentary.

This weekend menu is also available when Mondays and Fridays are national holidays, with the exception that a limited version of the Brunch Menu will also be available.

On Board:

All coaches offer a mix of seats grouped around a table and airline style seats (though in First and Standard Premier class, the airline-style seats have proper tables for individual use) and you can specify a preference for being sat at a table seat(s) when booking tickets.

Particularly if you will be travelling long-distance, prior to making a booking, ShowMeTheJourney recommends looking at the seating plans, which can be downloaded from the Avanti West Coast website.
You can use these plans to check which seats have a limited view, because not all seats in First or Standard class line up with the windows - or to check which seats do have power sockets.

Power sockets are available at all Window seats in First and Standard Premium Class, but only at a limited number of seats in Standard Class.

Quiet Coach

Coach A is the 'Quiet Coach' on an Avanti Pendolino train, passengers travelling within it are requested not to make or receive calls during the journey - and to use headphones when accessing audio or video.
Seats within this Quiet Coach can be requested when making a reservation.
Coach A is usually found at the very front of trains heading north from Euston, so you will have to walk the length of the platform to access it.
On trains heading south it is usually located to the rear, so will be the closest coach to the ticket gates when boarding in Glasgow, Liverpool or Manchester.

Wi-Fi

Complimentary Wi-Fi access is available throughout the train.
Once your logged on to the Wi-Fi, you can access a complimentary entertainment portal.

Luggage

The maximum size of suitcase that can be taken on board is 30cm x 70 cm x 90 cm – more information is available here.

Travelling with dogs

Up to two dogs can travel for free with an individual, or group of travellers.

Bicycles:

Spaces for non-folding bikes must be reserved ahead of travel, but these bike spaces can now be booked online as you book your journey tickets.
A bike reservation facility is built into the booking path on the Avanti West Coast website - and it shows how many bike spaces are still available on each departure.

Or if you want to subsequently book a bike reservation after you have booked your travel ticket, you can do so by calling 0345 528 0253

Though before doing so it's worth looking up the departure you will be travelling by, to check whether bike spaces are available
Also if you have booked Advance tickets, don't leave your bike reservation to the last minute.
Your bike will have to travel with you on the specific departure that you're booked on to, but you won't be able to exchange your travel tickets to a different departure if you subsequently discover that no bike spaces are available on that train.

Assisted Travel:

Avanti Pendolino trains have both wheelchair spaces and seats with additional leg-room, the Assisted Travel page on the Avanti West Coast website includes the booking information.

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This is one of more than 150 train guides available on ShowMeTheJourney, which will make it easier to take the train journeys you want or need to make. As always, all images were captured on trips taken by ShowMeTheJourney.