North West centre gets contract to refurbish Avanti trains creating 100 jobs

The new West Coast Mainline train operator has secured a £642 million deal for Alstom to refurbish and maintain its Pendolino trains.

Alstom has agreed the contract to overhaul all 56 electric Pendolino trains operated by Avanti West Coast, creating almost 100 jobs at the firm's Transport and Technology centre in Widnes.

Avanti West Coast - a joint venture by Aberdeen-based transport company FirstGroup and Italian firm Trenitalia - took over running services on the route from Virgin Trains in December.

The companies said the seven-year deal, which includes a £127 million upgrade of the trains, will also cover maintenance as well as a new train fleet recently ordered from Hitachi.

The firm said it will also secure engineering roles depots in Glasgow, Liverpool, Manchester, Oxley and Wembley.

It said the fleet overhaul will focus on onboard facilities such as seating, revamped toilets, lighting, interiors and the installation of at-seat chargers and improved Wi-Fi.

Phil Whittingham, managing director of Avanti West Coast, said: "The Pendolino is an iconic passenger train and we're delighted to be giving it a new lease of life.

"This deal will improve the experience of passengers and ensure the fleet can continue to serve communities up and down the west coast route in the years ahead."