The Office of Rail and Road (ORR) has secured key improvements to how passengers of a train operating company serving Lancashire plan and book their journeys.

Avanti West Coast serves Preston along its main West Coast Main Line route and also serves Kirkham & Wesham, Poulton-le-Fylde and Blackpool North stations.

The ORR’s acquisition of key improvements follows a call from the rail regulator for immediate improvement to Avanti’s timetable recovery plan, after its initial improvements stalled.

This meant weekend timetables were only being finalised a few days in advance, making it difficult for passengers to plan and book journeys.

Avanti’s new plan shows a pathway to full and sustained recovery to producing and finalising timetables in line with current industry norms in mid-May.

The regulator said it recognises significant engineering work on the West Coast Main Line in March and April adds complexity and risk to the plan, and has impacted on recovery timescales.

Avanti has also published on its website the dates for when tickets are to be released for sale in an important step to improving information for passengers.

Stephanie Tobyn, director of strategy, policy and reform at ORR, said: “Now that Avanti has established an improved recovery plan, the onus is on them to deliver.

“It is positive to see some early improvements to passenger information, in particular the publication of dates when tickets are to be released to passengers.

“This early momentum needs to be sustained and we will closely monitor delivery on a weekly basis.”

Avanti was recently revealed to be performing poorly in comparison to other train operators as train reliability in the country reached its lowest on record in the four weeks up to January 7.

At the time a spokesperson said that the number of cancellations in that time was due to a lack of train crew availability and they were unable to run services between Preston and Scotland due to a landslip.