No one likes being late – especially us.
Whether you’re heading to a big job interview or en route to a family reunion, we’re determined to make sure your journey runs on time.
We do everything in our power to avoid delays in the first place. Sometimes they’re unavoidable and out of our hands. When they do happen, we promise we’ll keep you informed with clear, useful and up to date information. We work closely with industry partners, including Network Rail, who own the tracks and signals. They can take immediate action to fix the cause of the problem, and we’ll make sure that you’re compensated for the time lost on your journey.
To make things simple, we’ve pulled the key bits of information together here so that you know exactly what you’re entitled to if a delay occurs.
Staying in the know
Help us to help you with updates and alerts sent straight to your device.
There are loads of great sites and handy apps out there. But, to make sure the information you're getting is correct we want you to know about all the most reliable sources:
Always check our website for the latest information on possible delays. Whenever there’s disruption to one of our services, that's the best place to find all the details you'll need. From understanding whats happening to the impact it’ll have on your journey, and any other travel options or advice that might help you along the way.
Live journey tracker
Sign up for journey alerts
Set up specific alerts tailored to your regular journeys and we’ll let you know, as soon as we do, of any issues impacting your journey.
Follow us on Twitter
We have a dedicated social media team who are always on hand to keep our followers updated and answer any questions. The average response time is under 10 minutes, so they’re the people to speak to if you need answers fast. During serious delays, our team receives an increased number of messages, but we’ll always get back to you as fast as we can.
Follow us on Twitter
Download our app
Stay up to speed with the latest status of your train sent straight to your phone.
Download our app
When there's a delay
The UK’s rail network is extremely busy, particularly on the busiest lines at peak times. And sometimes, things happening out of the ordinary can lead to delays.
There are many reasons delays might happen, from equipment faults to events beyond our control such as: extreme weather, vehicles hitting bridges, passengers being taken ill and people trespassing on the line.
These reports can come from many different sources: maintenance teams, our train crew, our station teams, members of the public or from remote monitoring systems installed across the network by Network Rail.
If there’s an incident, we work with our industry partners to assess what the knock-on effect is for our train services and, in turn, how it affects our customers. If delays are expected, we appoint a lead person in our control centre to manage the incident. Sometimes it might not be clear what’s happened – for example if the report comes from a train whizzing past at 125mph – so we may have to wait until a member of Network Rail staff is able to visit the site.
If it’s likely to have a severe impact, we have a range of communication protocols to keep you updated across our digital channels, at stations and onboard our trains. Our key message includes the following information:
- The problem - what has happened
- The impact - the effect this problem is having on trains
- The advice - to our customers on what to do including alternative routes or transport options
Working with our industry partners, we then work to fix the problem through a key milestone plan. Following this, we’ll update everyone across our customer communications.
We regularly review the plans and procedures we have in place to keep everything running as smooth as possible to get us back on track as quick as we can following an incident.
When issues do arise, we’ll try to keep services operating as normal as possible. But when there’s a concern for safety we may have to slow, or even stop, services until it’s safe to resume. Our team constantly reviews our delay data to work out which delays are preventable, how we can avoid them in the first place.
We have contingency plans in place for events that we can foresee across our network. Our operational control teams use these to plan our response considering customer flows at various times of the day, events on the route and other factors to ensure we take the best solution for the majority of our customers. We amend our plans through a mixture of software applications, the available resources, our knowledge and experience and real time customer feedback.
If there are major disruptions to your journey, check online or with the team at the station you’re travelling from for more information. Each incident is different, and we may only be able to provide limited solutions, so please check at the time. Everyone's journey is different and using the journey planner is the best way to find the right train for your journey - especially if there is disruption on that journey.
As a guide, to help get you moving we may organise for you to:
- Travel on another rail service
- Travel via another rail route
- Travel on rail replacement road transport;
- Travel later in the day, or on another day using your original travel tickets
- Or, for customers who decide against travelling during major disruption, for a fee-free refund via the original purchase channel
If you have a connection to another rail service and the delay is our fault, your ticket will always be valid for the next service, and you won’t receive any further charges.
Sometimes we’re unable to run any services at all, often because of extremely bad weather. In these instances, it may also be unsafe to operate road transport. When this happens, we’ll always try to help you as best we can, but we may need to issue a “not to travel” notice. That means we cannot safely guarantee a way for you to travel, so you should not start or continue your journey. In these cases, we’ll inform you of your options (often a refund or a return to your station of origin).
Useful documents and links:
Avanti West Coast, along with the rest of the rail industry, recognise how important it is that we manage disruptions correctly. Part of this is to provide customers with as much information as possible, and as quickly as possible, about the impact on their journeys so that they can make informed decisions. This is why we all now follow an industry-wide Code of Practice. The main aims of the Code of Practice are to:
- Offer a quick and accurate reason for delays
- Give advice on alternative arrangements for onward travel where possible
- Offer a realistic estimate of the duration of delays
- Ensure all information channels are updated with relevant information – trains, stations, websites, telephones, social media and news media
You can read the full Code of Practice, along with information from Network Rail on how delays occur and what is being done to minimise them, below:
Our Customer Information Pledges
Mentioned in the link above, Customer Information pledges are an important part of the Code of Practice.
We understand that things don't always go to plan when travelling. And we know, in those situations you need to have clear and the most up to date information as quickly as possible.
We know from speaking to customers that when things go wrong, we don’t always get it right – and we want to get better at keeping you up to date with the information you need during this time.
In partnership with Network Rail and the Rail Delivery Group, we have agreed to a set of Customer Information Pledges.
Through these Customer Information Pledges, we will:
continue to put our customers needs first
commit to a set of guiding principles that will bring real consistency to the information we provide
allow for flexibility across our network to ensure we meet all our customers needs
bring together good practice from across the railway - and other industries - to support customers during disruption and get them where they need to be as quickly as possible.
For more information on Customer Information Pledges please use the link below:
Find out more about Customer information pledges >
How are we doing with our pledges?
As we continue to work on our Customer Information Pledges, we have put together a progress report for the work we've done/are doing.
How are we doing with our pledges >
Keeping you in the know on the go
Greener and comfier trains are coming down the track as we refurb our 56 Pendolinos. It’s the UK’s biggest train upgrade project and our £117m investment includes the latest tech to keep you in the know on the go.
We’re installing passenger information screens on each train to keep you updated on your journey, including connecting rail services. All info is linked to the national rail information service, so you can be sure you’re getting the latest, most accurate travel news.
Each screen also shows the layout of the train, so it’s really easy to find your seat. Plus they’ll display updates from our operations control and details of future engineering works.
You’ll always be kept in the picture on the new Pendolinos.
Our first upgraded trains hit the track in April 2022. All 56 will be arriving on by 2024, so look out for them on a platform near you.
Find out more
Alternative routes out of London
If there's disruption at London Euston, this map helps find alternative routes to your destination. Speak with a member of a team to see what route your ticket is valid on when you get to the station or view our 'Alternative routes out of London' below:
Click here for Alternative routes out of London>
Listening to your feedback
We’d love to hear how we are doing on managing delays through filling in this short survey:
Click here to complete our short survey
Alternatively, please get in touch:
Click here for help and support