WCR was unable to meet Avanti’s safety requirements for sliding doors, 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 a person with knowledge of the discussions.
A daily WCR service is planned to link Lancaster and Preston to the capital, carrying around 500 additional passengers a day according to plans being finalized on Thursday evening, sources said. The LSL service, meanwhile, will run between Manchester and London in the Avanti livery.
An Avanti spokesman said: “On Thursday we began operating four charter services a day between Manchester and London to provide additional capacity. Initially these are being operated as relief trains, helping to spread customer demand, but as we continue to analyze booking patterns, we will move them to the times when they are most needed and customers will be able to purchase tickets for them.
Avanti was forced to cut trains from three to one an hour between Manchester and London earlier this summer, with ministers warning the line may have to be nationalized if service levels do not improve.
Chief executive Phil Whittingham has been forced to resign after accusing drivers’ union Aslef of launching an “unofficial strike”.
Rail operators across the UK said on Monday they would be arranging additional services to get around 750,000 mourners to London in the coming days – with The Telegraph revealing some companies plan to operate services All night long.