Birkenhead MP demands Transport Secretary intervene to tackle ‘chaos’ on Avanti West Coast services

The Member of Parliament for Birkenhead has written to Transport Secretary Grant Shapps to demand that he intervene to restore normal service on Avanti West Coast trains to London.

The train operator recently suspended the sale of all tickets to London Euston and is now running drastically reduced services “until further notice.”

At present, it’s currently impossible for commuters from Liverpool to book tickets to London more than a week in advance.

Mick Whitley MP has said that the disruption is visiting “chaos” on his constituents and commuters across the North West. Labour has accused Grant Shapps of being “missing in action” while significant disruption has taken place over the rail network this summer.

Mick Whitley warned the Transport Secretary that the public would no longer tolerate his “Department’s inadequate response to extensive rail disruption”.

This morning, the Transport Secretary repeated Avanti West Coast’s claim that the disruption is the result of unofficial strike action by the rail unions.

ASLEF General Secretary Mick Whelan has accused the train operator of “lying” and of failing to employ “enough drivers to run services they have promised to run”.

Speaking to, the Labour MP said, “Throughout the summer, Grant Shapps has repeatedly tried to absolve himself of responsibility for the disruption unfolding on our rail network while laying the blame at the feet of hard-working rail staff and their unions who are fighting to secure fair pay rises at a time of record high inflation.

“The Transport Secretary now needs to use the power of his office to compel Avanti West Coast to sit down with the rail unions, reach an outcome to its ongoing pay dispute that is acceptable to the rail unions and their members, and make the much-needed investment in its business so that commuters finally get the services they deserve.”

The Labour MP will also be meeting with the senior management of Avanti in the coming weeks to discuss the impact that reduced services are having on his constituents.


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