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Government Says State Control on Table for UK Rail Firm Avanti

  • Minister says firm’s contract may be pulled over cancellations
  • Move toward nationalization would be controversial for Truss
A British Rail Class 390 Pendolino drives through Anstey, U.K. 

A British Rail Class 390 Pendolino drives through Anstey, U.K. 

Photographer: Tom Stevenson/Avanti West Coast

The UK government said it’s looking at all possibilities for the struggling Avanti West Coast rail service, suggesting the line linking Britain’s biggest cities could be brought under state control.

Driver shortages at Avanti, run by FirstGroup Plc with Trenitalia of Italy, have led it to cancel hundreds of services, reducing London-Manchester frequencies to just one an hour. It said last week that Managing Director Phil Whittingham, who blamed the disruption on unofficial strike action, would leave on Sept. 15.