Refurbished Avanti West Coast Pendolino's part of UK’s biggest ever train upgrade

The new revamped carriage Credit: Avanti West Coast/PA

Passengers in the North West are travelling on the first trains to be modernised as part of the biggest refurbishment on Britain's railways.

The Pendolino trains, one of the country's fastest domestic trains, returned to service with the 5.05am departure from Manchester Piccadilly to London Euston on Monday, 25 April.

The new stock will also run on the Liverpool to London Euston line.

The operator say they will 'look and feel like new trains', with more comfortable seats, a redesigned shop and better on-board information.

New carpets have been fitted Credit: Avanti West Coast/PA

Avanti West Coast’s fleet of 56 Pendolinos will be refurbished as part of a £117 million programme.

Other changes include upgraded lighting, refurbished toilets and new carpets.

All 35 Pendolinos with 11 carriages will see one first class carriage converted to standard class.

They will serve routes between London, Manchester, Glasgow, Preston, Carlisle, Edinburgh, Liverpool and Birmingham.

New standard premium seats on the refurbished train Credit: Avanti West Coast/PA

Rail minister Wendy Morton said: "The iconic Pendolino is back and better than ever before.

"This refurbished version of the classic fleet is a fantastic example of our cutting-edge rail network and how our railways are leading the way in creating a cleaner, more environmentally friendly and modern transport system."

Avanti West Coast managing director Phil Whittingham said: "This investment has been one of the key promises to our customers, and they will see a dramatic transformation of our well-loved fleet.

"The refurbished Pendolinos look and feel like new trains, with state-of-the-art technology as well as brand new seats that promise best-in-class comfort."

A new bar area has been installed Credit: Avanti West Coast/PA

The refurbishment is being carried out by manufacturer Alstom at its new depot in Widnes, Cheshire.

The second train to be overhauled will return to service in early May.

Rolling stock asset manager Angel Trains has financed the programme, which is due to run until 2024.

Peter Broadley, managing director for services at Alstom, said: “Our team at Widnes have created something amazing and we are incredibly proud of the final product.

"We hope it secures the future of the Pendolinos on the West Coast for many years to come."

Virgin boss Sir Richard Branson with a Pendolino before the trains entered service in July 2002 Credit: Myung Jung Kim/PA

The tilting, electric Pendolinos transformed long-distance rail travel when they were introduced on the West Coast Main Line by then-operator Virgin Trains in July 2002.

Avanti West Coast’s other train fleet - diesel-powered Voyagers - is being replaced by new electric and hybrid trains built by Hitachi from 2023.