Avanti West Coast revealed as Britain’s most ‘unreliable’ train operator

In other news, water is wet.

Emily Sergeant Emily Sergeant - 4th April 2024

A new study has revealed the most ‘unreliable’ train operators in Britain, and it’s pretty grim reading for us northerners.

That’s because, in what likely doesn’t come as that much of a shock to the millions of people who regularly travel by train across the country, Avanti West Coast has claimed the not-so-coveted top spot on the list compiled by travel deal site Tripplo.

We all know that public transport can be tricky to rely on, right?

But, in a bid to find out which train companies are considered to be the most unreliable of them all, the Tripplo team analysed data from the Office of Rail and Road between January 2021 and September 2023 to find the percentage of train journeys that were either cancelled, or delayed by 15 minutes or more, from different rail operators.

Coming out on top was Avanti – which runs the West Coast Main Line from Manchester to London – as it was found to have a massive 15.36% of its trains cancelled or delayed on average between the analysed time frame, and that works out to just over one in six trains not arriving when expected.


These delays amounted to a staggering 1,289,833 minutes of delays, or in other words, passengers using Avanti services lost a total of 895 days of journey time because of delays.

The other North West representative on the list is TransPennine Express, which claimed seventh place within the top 10, and had an average of 9.29% of its services cancelled or delayed within the analysed timeframe.


Other train operators appearing in the top 10 include Hull Trains, London North East Railway (LNER), Cross Country Rail, and Grand Central Rail.

Avanti being crowned Britain’s most unreliable comes after it was controversially awarded a long-term contract to operate the West Coast Main Line back in September of last year.

The train operator was found to have 15.36% of its trains cancelled or delayed on average / Credit: Network Rail

Before this, the company had previously been given until 1 April 2023 to continue running the route from London to Glasgow, but had been told that it needed to “drastically improve” its services if it was to stand any chance of having the contract extended further beyond that date, due to its chaotic past since taking over from Virgin in December 2019.


Despite many customers continuing to voice discontent with level of services during this time, the Department for Transport (DfT) still went on to award Avanti another six-month contract extension from the start of April onwards, after it deemed “significant improvements had been made since October”.

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Following DfT reviews, once again, Avanti’s long-term contract to operate the line was subsequently awarded in mid-September 2023.

Featured Image – Avanti