FirstGroup and Trenitalia have named the InterCity West Coast rail franchise, UK, Avanti West Coast.

The two companies are scheduled to take over the operations of the InterCity West Coast rail from 8 December. Avanti means ‘forward’ in Italian and the operators have said that their aim is to deliver a railway service that is ‘ready for today and fit for the future’. The rail service will connect London to towns in England, North Wales and Scotland.

First Trenitalia said that it will provide more trains, more seats, reduced fares and more frequent services for customers of the InterCity West Coast services. The 56 refurbished Pendolino trains will also feature a total of 25,000 seats, better Wi-Fi and catering.

The company expects to be running 263 more weekly train services on both existing and new routes by 2022.

Avanti West Coast will offer tickets via mobile apps and smartcards. The stations will be updated to include refurbished waiting rooms, better customer facilities, more car parking spaces and improved accessibility.

The partnership also plans to work with HS2 Ltd and the UK Department for Transport.

First Rail managing director Steve Montgomery said: “Today marks the start of a new era in high-speed rail services – one that will generate national prosperity and pride. Avanti West Coast enshrines the type of forward-thinking operation we intend to run, that’s ready for today and fit for the future.

“We’re looking forward to taking over the franchise in 11 days’ time and we are very pleased and proud to be working with Trenitalia, a strong partner who is committed to playing an increasing role in UK rail and has many years of expertise in the high-speed sector in Italy.”