Avanti West Coast train refurbishment: Campaign groups condemn failure to provide facilities for young families

The Campaign for Family Friendly Trains and campaign group Pregnant then Screwed join together to express disappointment that recent upgrades to Avanti West Coast fleet makes no provision for unfolded prams.

Avanti West Coast have recently upgraded their Pendolino fleet, describing it as an inclusive design. Despite being billed as the UK’s biggest ever train upgrade, the refurbishment failed to add any much-needed space for unfolded prams.

Abby Taylor, from the Campaign for Family Friendly Trains said:

‘We are disappointed that Avanti West Coast have not taken advantage of the opportunity to improve train travel for families with young children as part of their Pendolino refurbishment. We have met with Avanti West Coast several times over the last year and stressed that space for unfolded pushchairs and prams is necessary to avoid parents juggling children as they board, waking up sleeping babies or frantically trying to unfold a pram as they reach their destination. As much of the railway industry recognises that changes are required to train interiors to attract and retain leisure passengers, the refurbished design from Avanti West Coast appears stuck in a pre-pandemic mindset that neglects the needs of families with young children.’

“I have travelled on Avanti West Coast trains with my own son and have spent many hours sitting on train vestibule floors, breastfeeding there, changing him there, singing him to sleep there, because there was nowhere to put ourselves or his pushchair that wasn’t in the way. This design condemns future generations of parents to the same uncomfortable and unwelcoming experience.”

Joeli Brearley from the Campaign Group, Pregnant then Screwed added:

 ‘We wholeheartedly support the Campaign for Family Friendly trains. Many of our members have shared their experience of being forced to sit in train vestibules while their children sleep. We find it astonishing that it is possible to reserve space for a bike on a train but not a pram. We struggle to see how this is a leading example of inclusive design, being unable to travel as a mother could contribute to the motherhood penalty. We consider this a missed opportunity and hope that other train operating companies do not make this same mistake’. 

Notes for Editors

About the Campaign for Family-Friendly Trains

https://familyfriendlytrains.com @trains_for_kids

The Campaign for Family-Friendly Trains was set up by frustrated parents who had had disappointing experiences travelling on Britain’s railway with young children. They have met with the Department for Transport, Train Operating Companies, the Rail Delivery Group as well as Rolling Stock Operating Companies and Train Manufacturers. The campaign’s main requests are:

  • dedicated space for unfolded prams on trains
  • extension of the seat reservation system to include the space for unfolded prams
  • family-friendly toilets that can be used with and by children
  • step free access and level boarding

About Pregnant then Screwed

Pregnant Then Screwed (www.pregnantthenscrewed.com).

Pregnant Then Screwed is a charity that seeks to protect, support and promote the rights of pregnant women and mothers. We carry out extensive research into the effects of systemic cultural and institutional discrimination during pregnancy and motherhood. Our support services include: a free employment rights helpline, pro bono legal advice and a tribunal mentor scheme that supports women who are considering legal action against their employer.

We campaign for changes that will end the motherhood penalty and we support working mums to rebuild their confidence and find work that works for them.

For information and interview requests, please contact: contact@familyfriendlytrains.com 

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