ANDY BURNHAM has called for a critical review into Avanti West Coast due to their 'continued failings in punctuality'.

The Metropolitan mayor of Greater Manchester chairs the Rail North Committee, who advise ‘Transport for the North’ (TfN).

TfN governs all strategic transport improvements in the North of England and have written to Transport Secretary Mark Harper calling for a review into the train company’s operations.

The northern body has asked for him to instruct officials to conduct a ‘critical review’ due to ‘the deteriorating service being endured by passengers’.

TfN went on to call for all Avanti trains to run with First Class and Standard Premium accommodation declassified until their performance has been restored to an acceptable level.

This means that, if the standard section of the train is full, passengers without premium tickets can be moved into other areas to deal with overflow.

However Avanti says this will not solve the current challenges it faces and says it is working hard to minimise cancellations.

Latest industry figures reveal that over the last 8 days across all Avanti services punctuality and reliability (PPM) is at 46.3% and trains that were cancelled and/or severely delayed (CaSL) stands at 31.8%.

This is based on an already reduced service offering, after the operator announced several cuts to services from December 9 to 31.

Mayor Andy Burnham, Chair of the Rail North Committee, said: “This torrent of cancellations and delays on Avanti services is simply unacceptable.

“This is one of the most important times of the year for many families and businesses, all of whom are being let down by this deteriorating rail service without an end in sight.

“This cannot be allowed to continue. That is why we have written to the government to ask for them to conduct a critical review of Avanti as a matter of priority.

“Given the critical importance of this service at this time of year, it is also vital that all seats on Avanti West Coast services are made available for use by declassifying all First-Class accommodation until an acceptable service can be restored.”

An Avanti West Coast spokesperson said: “Declassifying our trains will not solve the current challenges we are seeing on our network. Our Train Managers already have the discretion to declassify our services if they are busy due to disruption and have done so several times recently.

“As well as disruption, we have been seeing some short-notice cancellations on our network and would like to apologise to our customers for the inconvenience caused as we know this is not good enough. 

"These service changes are a result of resourcing challenges where we have seen a shortage of train crew due to historic leave agreements.  We are working hard to make sure we can minimise these cancellations.”