FIRST Trenitalia have promised more frequent services and new trains as it takes over the West Coast Main Line from Virgin Trains in on December 8th..

A spokesman for Virgin Trains, who have run trains on the service since 1997, said: “We’ll now work with First Trenitalia to ensure a seamless handover for customers, who should still book and travel as normal.”

From December 2022 the new company has promised 263 extra train services every week and plans to run two trains an hour between London and Liverpool, subject to approval.

New environmentally-friendly trains will also be phased in to  replace the diesel-only fleet, which the government says will reduce CO2 emissions by 61 per cent.

Free wifi will be added to services and stations including Stafford will be upgraded with facilities such as new cycle storage facilities, new car parking spaces and 100 new electric vehicle charging points. The exact plans for Stafford are yet to be announced.

First Trenitalia says it will also invest £117million to refurbish the current Pendolino fleet, providing more comfortable seats and additional luggage space.

The rail company has also been awarded the West Coast Partnership contract, which includes responsibility for running the first high speed 2 (HS2) trains from 2026.

But the Department for Transport has also stated that the government will “shortly launch a review” into the new high-speed railway, which was widely expected after Boris Johnson became Prime Minister.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “This award is positive news for passengers, with more services, more direct connections and ambitious plans for a cleaner, greener railway, and also represents a decisive shift towards a new model for rail.”