THE name of the new rail franchise for the main line which passes through Cumbria will be Avanti West Coast.

Franchise holders FirstGroup and Trenitalia, who take over operation on December 8, made the announcement this week.

Avanti is Italian for 'Forward' and the group said it reflected its mission to deliver an innovative rail service “ready for today and fit for the future.”

Under the new West Coast Partnership, First Trenitalia has pledged to completely refurbish the 56 Pendolino trains with 25,000 brand new seats, more reliable Wi-Fi and improved catering.

They have also promised that by 2022, there will be 263 more train services every week on the network they cover and a fleet of new trains introduced.

“We are committed to our customers and over the next few years, we will work with our industry and local partners not only to invest in, and improve, rail services on the route, but also to attract more people to rail and connect communities across the country,” said Steve Montgomery, managing director of franchise division First Rail.