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Avanti West Coast handed new contract for Glasgow to London trains despite repeated cancellations

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Avanti West Coast and CrossCountry have been handed long-term contract extensions despite repeatedly slashing services. Avanti runs rail services between Glasgow and London Euston, while CrossCountry has trains going from Aberdeen, Glasgow and Edinburgh to various places across Great Britain.Avanti's new contract has a maximum term of nine years but can be terminated at any point after three years with three months’ notice.It comes after Avanti was criticised for delays and cancellations.

It has also been hit by industrial action over the past year.The company was handed two consecutive six-month contracts and ordered to develop a recovery plan aimed at addressing poor performance on vital routes.The Department for Transport said the proportion of its trains being cancelled has been cut to “as low as 1.1% over the past year”.Avanti is owned by FirstGroup and Italian state operator TrenItalia.CrossCountry is one of Britain’s least reliable train operators.Office of Rail and Road figures show the equivalent of 6.8 per cent of CrossCountry services were cancelled between April and June.That was the third highest proportion across all operators.The company is owned by Arriva, which is a UK-based subsidiary of the German state railway operator Deutsche Bahn.Its new contract has a maximum term of eight years but can be terminated at any point after four years.Both Avanti and CrossCountry's new contracts start on October 15.Tory Transport Secretary Mark Harper said: “The routes Avanti West Coast operate provide vital connections, and passengers must feel confident that they can rely on the services to get them where they need to be at the right time.“Over the past year, short-term contracts were necessary to rebuild the

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