It’s meant that services between Manchester and London have been running as infrequently as once an hour, rather than the usual three per hour.
Avanti also cancelled all seat reservations on journeys booked before 8 August, leading to frequent confusion on board trains.
The company has apologised for the ‘enormous frustration and inconvenience’.
It added that it has increased the number of unreserved seating to ‘make it easier for customers to find a new seat’.
Several people have said they’ve headed to their reserved seat to find it double-booked, and passengers left to stand or try to find a vacant space on busy services instead.
One person even reported ‘fights breaking out over seats that are reserved but have people sitting in them’ – a matter that Avanti said should be passed on to British Transport Police.
Someone else said: “On the 0630 to Glasgow-London train. @AvantiWestCoast you’re still double booking seats!! Just been forced out our seats 2 hours in by v rude travellers. A quick word with your helpful train manager and it’s easily sorted – she upgraded us! It’s the way you ask. Thanks Karen!!”
One person asked Avanti: “Got my reservation months ago and found that four people have exactly the same reservation. Is this some sort of travel Hunger Games?? 13:09 Crewe to Edinburgh.”
Someone on Twitter asked: “How the hell do you allow 3 people to book same seat?!? Absolute madness @AvantiWestCoast. Train is chaos and now running late. Complete joke!”
Another said: “Chaos of @AvantiWestCoast really has to be experienced to be believed: only 1 direct train per hour to Manchester from Euston; only 9 coaches booked (not 11) leading to ad hoc declassification; seats double-booked; driver shortage meant 10 min delay; shop cannot take card payment.”
“I spent months commuting to Manchester from London 15 years ago and the Virgin VHF (3 per hour) was a treat: sit-down restaurant car doing cooked breakfast; air-conditioning that worked; no smell & clean seats. 2-hour train journey was something to look forward to, not to suffer.
“By contrast the timetable for mid-September still hasn’t been confirmed, half the ticket machines at Euston were out of order with queues for the ticket booths. This is the main trunk line connecting the UK’s three biggest cities, when it is running at all.”
A spokesperson for Avanti West Coast said: “The reduced timetable was introduced to ensure a reliable service is delivered so our customers can travel with greater certainty.
“This decision was not taken lightly, and we’re sorry for the enormous frustration and inconvenience this has caused for customers who booked with us to prior to the timetable change.”
Featured image: Avanti West Coast
Police search for man who threw punch at Chris Eubank Jr vs Liam Smith boxing match
Police are searching for man who threw his own punch at the AO Arena after Chris Eubank Jr vs Liam Smith boxing match.
The man in question is believed to have vaulted over a barrier inside the arena just as the match itself came to an end.
He then punched a man sat behind him in the face, before making off on foot.
He left two women and a man he was with behind.
Police are now appealing to witnesses of the assault on Saturday 21 January 2023 to come forward with any information.
CCTV images of the suspect have been released by GMP.
They said in a statement: “Police are appealing for witnesses to an assault at the AO Arena on Saturday 21 January 2023 after the Chris Eubank Jr vs Liam Smith boxing match.
“It is reported that then man (pictured) vaulted over a barrier inside the arena just as the boxing match finished, and struck a man sat behind him in the face.
“The offender then made off on foot, leaving two women and a man he was with, behind.
“Officers believe that the suspect is possibly from the Merseyside area. If you know the man or have any information relating to the crime, please contact GMP on 101, quoting reference number INC/0075491/23.
“Alternatively, information can be passed anonymously to the independent charity – Crimestoppers – on 0800 555 111.”
Featured image: GMP
Salford police officer sacked for ‘depraved’ relationship with vulnerable woman
A police officer has been sacked after carrying out an ‘improper relationship’ with a crime victim.
Paul Banks, who worked as a PC in Salford, has been dismissed and barred after a Gross Misconduct Hearing on 24 and 25 January 2023.
In the hearing, a panel heard how Banks had advised a vulnerable woman to create an email account – which he then accessed to view images and videos, some of which were explicit, that she had uploaded.
He viewed the content more than 200 times and never reported them to his manager or the force’s Professional Standards Branch.
In the end, his own colleagues sensed that something was amiss and raised the alarm.
GMP has now slammed Banks’s ‘depraved behaviour’ and stressed that ‘there will never be a place in GMP for anybody who behaves like him’.
A statement also said that he ‘abused his position of trust’.
Detective Chief Superintendent Michael Allen, head of GMP’s Professional Standards Branch, said: “Banks knew full well that his conduct was egregiously wrong.
“By cultivating an improper relationship with a vulnerable member of the public who he met in the course of his policing duties, the officer has been deservedly sacked from GMP.
“Not only has he disgraced himself, but his depraved behaviour dishonours policing and undermines the principled endeavours of his colleagues, who everyday do a valiant job catching criminals and protecting our communities.
“Indeed, it was Banks’ own colleagues who sensed something was amiss and triggered the first step in a process that rooted him out.
“The prudence of his colleagues is to be commended and I am grateful to the IOPC for conducting an investigation that left no stone unturned.
“No decent member of the police service wants to work with the likes of Banks and there will never be a place in GMP for anybody who behaves like him.
“He abused his position of trust and for that the Office of Constable has been rightly stripped from him.
“GMP is a better force without Banks and we will recruit a new officer into his post who will discharge their duties with honour and espouse the professional and compassionate values of the GMP workforce.”
Banks, who had been on restricted since the investigation began in December 2020, was dismissed without notice.